Marseille furious as Dimitri Payet nears West Ham move

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With Dimitri Payet on his way to West Ham for a medical, Olympique de Marseille has released a statement outlining its side of the story, detailing why the club is reluctantly selling its highly-rated central midfielder.

According to the club statement, the club met with Payet’s representatives in early June to discuss the 28-year-old’s standing at Marseille, and the two sides agreed he would honor the final two years of his contract. But less than a month later, Payet’s agent returned to state they had opened negotiations with West Ham for a big-money contract.

“Thus, his agent demanded a huge and immediate revaluation of the player’s contract to remain at Marseille,” the club said in its statement, claiming Payet used a 6-year, $33.5 million offer from the London club as leverage. “Marseille was unable to meet this demand, and the president expressed his surprise that negotiations were opened with another club without warning OM.”

The French club says that it had “no intention to sell Dimitri Payet” and that it still “obviously hopes that Dimitri chooses to stay in Marseille next season” but that they are unable to renegotiate his contract until mid-July, and have thusly accepted an unnamed bid from the London club. The statement says they are hoping Payet will decide to wait until that time, but his agent expressed his desire for a swift end to this story, so he is expected to move to London, with a medical reportedly scheduled for Thursday.

The Frenchman was the highest-rated midfielder in Ligue 1 by Squawka Statistics last season, tallying seven goals and a whopping 21 assists in 36 appearances. He was a workhorse, with 35 of those appearances starts, racking up 3,049 league minutes. Payet would become the first significant signing of new West Ham manager Slaven Bilic, having recently taken over for Sam Allardyce.