Monday saw L’Equipe dedicate their first three pages to Dimitri Payet to Marseille claims. It was stated the French club were readying around €30m to €40m to convince West Ham to sell the player.
As we explained at the time, despite the big fanfare it didn’t seem anything hugely ground shaking.
‘It’s already known that Marseille have more money now, it’s already known that Payet has previously spoken warmly about the French club, and it’s already known that West Ham United simply wouldn’t be keen to sell.’
A Payet return has been floated around for a while and the €30m to €40m seemed a vague estimation, or guesstimate. It’s well know how fond Payet is of Marseille, and that has helped push the idea further.
L’Equipe’s Monday’s reports were then followed up by France Football and others, but, again, there was really nothing eye opening and surprising.
On Tuesday, L’Equipe once again dedicate their first three pages to Payet. The French newspaper’s front page reads ‘Le blues de Payet’ and suggests that Manchester United beating West Ham is another sign of the London club struggling, and could help Marseille with a transfer.
L’Equipe seem to be on a continual, and maybe encouraged, effort to hype the possibility of the transfer and ask if the Manchester United match was one of Payet’s last for West Ham.
For a good idea of how dramatically they’re building the story, take this:
‘The strong link between Dimitri Payet and the supporters of West Ham was transparent yesterday in the late afternoon, in a London Stadium frozen by the cold wind, by Mr. Dean’s refereeing and by the defeat Against Manchester United. Not one “We’ve got Payet, Dimitri Payet” has risen from the stands away from the pitch, in this Olympic stadium which ends up seeing football, but from far away. Not a banner. The jerseys in his name were hidden under the thick jackets.’
L’Equipe then go on to say that ‘the possibility of the transfer to Marseille’ did not push the West Ham fans into action… which can more or less be translated to ‘the West Ham fans didn’t take our story seriously enough’.
Slaven Bilic’s comments are covered, and it’s accepted West Ham aren’t keen on selling 29 year old Payet, and aside from that there’s really nothing new in the meat and bones.
The most striking claims come in a section about Rudi Garcia and Payet, with the two working together previously at Lille. It’s stated that Garcia has been calling Payet ‘repeatedly’ since November, and claimed the footballer’s family would quite like to return to the sun of Marseille.
Not only have L’Equipe got words from some Marseille fans (some want him, but there’s a worry he may be overpriced for his age), but they sent the journalist behind the big splash to the match last night to speak to West Ham supporters, who like their French counterparts gave mixed views.
The effort being put into pushing this story is huge and somewhat surprising giving the bones of the claims, aside from the Garcia slant (which was written by a separate journalist), don’t really have a great deal of update to them.
Someone is clearly pushing this story. For L’Equipe to dedicate their first three pages, two days running, makes that pretty clear. Picking up on fan behaviour and any conceivable signal, and speaking to supporters of both sides to help push the story, backs that idea up. It’s unlikely to be West Ham pushing the story, which leaves Marseille and the Payet camp.
It would benefit the French club’s new owner Frank McCourt for fans to believe there was a genuine effort to sign Payet, maybe even setting out on a journey which would be very difficult to complete. From a Payet perspective, perhaps he does have itchy feet, or doesn’t feel quite as loved at West Ham as he once was.
Alternatively, there could be a third way, with an agent trying to build a deal, and a hyped situation, to encourage West Ham and Marseille into a deal.