So it looks like Payet’s leaving.
With just a couple of days left of the transfer window, it seems that West Ham finally agreed a deal with Marseille, allowing Dimitri Payet to creep out of the exit door for £25 million.
— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) January 29, 2017
I think it’s a damn shame.
Without revealing my footballing allegiance, I can tell you that I’m not a huge fan of West Ham.
Never have been. Never will be.
But even the most ardent hater of the East London club has to feel somewhat sorry for them here.
Just to put this into context, Dimitri Payet was nothing before he came to West Ham.
Just another European footballer, plucked from obscurity and given an opportunity in the Premier League.
And he’s done well. Really well.
We must not forget that Payet is a supremely talented footballer, however badly he has played this season, but we must not forget the part that West Ham have played in elevating him to this status.
And just to be clear: the part West Ham have played in transforming Payet’s earnings from obscene to super-obscene.
I don’t know what Payet was on at Marseille the first time around, but I’d be willing to bet that it pales in comparison to the £125,000 a week deal that the Frenchman was given less than 12 months ago AND the £1million bonus that he received two months ago – ironically, for ‘loyalty’.
12th January: Slaven Bilic – “There is absolutely no way we would sell Dimitri Payet in January.”
— SPORF (@Sporf) January 30, 2017
Loyalty. It’s a funny word, especially when it comes to football.
In reality, it no longer exists.
In the real world, Payet would not have given such short shrift to an employer who had given him the myriad of opportunities that West Ham have.
He might have wanted to leave, and at the next available opportunity (like when his contract finished), then he may have moved on.
But what the Frenchman has done in this context is very different.
Not only has he left West Ham, just after they catapulted him to footballing stardom, but he has effectively broken his contract to do so, just after receiving a £1 million bonus for loyalty.
It’s sickening. But it’s the modern game, where the player has all the power.
Will it last forever? I hope not. I sincerely hope that clubs begin to strike back, using legal force to maximise the value of their assets. It’s a sad route to go down, but if things continue like this, clubs have no choice.