A tribute to Dimitri Payet at West Ham’s London Stadium had to be guarded ahead of their Premier League fixture against Crystal Palace as the France international plots his exit from the Hammers.
Slaven Bilic revealed on Thursday that Payet has refused to play for West Ham as they struggle to replicate last season’s swashbuckling campaign amid a testy switch to their new home from Upton Park.
Payet has been frozen out of the first-team picture, with Marseille reportedly keen to bring back the player that they sold to the Premier League just 18 months ago.
Clearly fearing that fans could turn their anger on a decal at the stadium that bears Payet’s chant, a steward was positioned there ahead of Saturday’s fixture.
They stationed a steward right next to the Payet blurb outside the London Stadium. I wonder why… pic.twitter.com/hYt1MEyKnx
— Ian Danter (@talkdants) January 14, 2017
Bilic says West ham have no intention of selling Payet – a claim that was repeated by co-chairman David Gold in a statement on the club’s official website.
Gold wrote: “We have met all of his requirements since he joined and we committed long-term to him when we gave him a new five-year contract back in February 2016, so this is hugely disappointing.
“We have made it clear that he is not for sale and we want to see some loyalty from him, after Slaven, the players and all the fans have given him so much support.
“We gave Dimitri the opportunity to play in the best league in the world when he wasn’t in the France team and a platform that has helped him become one of the best players in Europe.
“Slaven gave him the confidence to excel in the Premier League and he got back into the France team due to his impressive form at West Ham United.
“He signed a long-term contract last year and we want him to honour that.”
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