Payet: I don’t have to justify actions to West Ham

Date published: Monday 30th January 2017 8:18 - Matthew Stead

Dimitri Payet took a pay cut to rejoin Marseille and does not feel the need to justify his mutinous behaviour at West Ham.

The 29-year-old forward has completed a £25million move back to the Stade Velodrome after becoming unhappy at West Ham following one prolific campaign with the London club.

Payet scored 12 goals for the Hammers following a switch from L’OM in June 2015, but he left the Premier League side under a cloud having refused to play in a January match at Crystal Palace.

At his presentation on Monday, at which Marseille president Jacques-Henri Eyraud revealed Payet had accepted a “significant reduction” to his wages, the France international referred to his revolt.

“I don’t have to justify my behaviour,” he said in quotes reported by L’Equipe. “(West Ham boss) Slaven Bilic has his own opinion about what I did.

“We had plenty of face-to-face discussions, and I know what I said.

“I wanted to come back to Marseille.

“The stuff that happened previously… I’ll talk about it when I need to, but not now.

“If I wanted to play for money, I would play in another country and would do so for a very long time.

“I’m not saying this won’t be the case one day, but it’s not my primary motivation right now.

“The important thing is playing and trying to reach new heights, as I have always done.

“So is taking a pay cut a sacrifice? Yes and no.”

He continued at his press conference: “I was no longer happy at West Ham, I had to come back home. I still have fond memories of the West Ham supporters.

“Coming back to Marseille is a personal choice. I am very happy to come back here.

“It’s a place I know well. I wanted to come back here and be part of this project.”

Payet, who has signed a four-and-a-half-year deal, joins a Marseille team placing sixth in Ligue 1.

He added: “The goal is to get into Europe. Getting into the top three is going to be difficult.”

The former St Etienne and Lille attacking midfielder could make his second debut against Lyon in the Coupe de France on Tuesday night, with a league trip to Metz offering another opportunity on Friday.

Meanwhile, West Ham are offering to take Payet replica shirts back and replace them at a discounted rate of £25.

Payet was the club’s player of the year in 2015-16 – his only full season as a Hammer – and had proved an instant hit with the fan base.

Vice-chairman Karren Brady has promised all those who have had Payet’s name printed on this season’s shirt that they can exchange the piece of kit for a blank version, at a cost.

“Morning, bring back your Payet shirt to any of the club shops & you will get a new replacement for £25, full details on WHU web site today,” she tweeted in reply to a question about shirt costs.

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