Payet does not owe West Ham fans an apology – Bilic

Date published: Tuesday 31st January 2017 10:20 - Joe Williams

Dimitri Payet does not owe West Ham fans an apology, says manager Slaven Bilic.

Payet is public enemy number one with the Hammers faithful after refusing to play for the club as he engineered his move back to Marseille.

The France international finally completed the protracted and controversial £25million transfer on Sunday evening.

Yet rather than condemn Payet’s actions, Bilic has thanked the 29-year-old – one of the stars of the Premier League last season – for his efforts in claret and blue.

“Does he owe an apology? No. I wouldn’t say that,” said the West Ham boss.

“Players are always moving and I’m not going that deep into what he should say or shouldn’t. He is gone, he went home, that was his wish and I will not forget how good he was for us.

“He was brilliant. I was so happy and proud, with my team, my staff, to help him achieve what he did. What he achieved with us was a great story for West Ham, for the Premier League and for France.

“I ain’t going to forget it just because he moved. I really wish him well.”

Bilic went public about Payet’s refusal to play on January 12, two days before their match against Crystal Palace.

Both Bilic and co-owner David Sullivan vowed at the time that they would not sell the player for any price.

But Bilic added: “That was part of the tactics. It was obvious from the day I announced it openly that he would go and we wanted the best price possible, of course.

“I want to thank him for everything he did for us – he was brilliant last year. We were brilliant for him also. Now that story’s finished I wish him luck and all the best in Marseille.”

The Hammers may now have some spending money burning a hole in their pocket but none of that cash will be going on Brentford striker Scott Hogan.

Bilic has been linked with Hogan all month but pulled out of the race to sign the 25-year-old because he is happy with his attacking options.

“He’s a good player,” added Bilic. “We watched him in many games but we have good strikers now in our squad and that’s the reason why I didn’t want that deal.”

Bilic admitted he had been interested in bringing former West Ham striker Demba Ba back to the club from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua, but the player has yet to recover fully from a broken leg.

The Hammers boss also confirmed that young defender Reece Oxford is joining Reading on loan.

More Related Articles