Bilic: Payet is fully committed to West Ham
PUBLISHED: 14:30 22 December 2016
PA Wire/PA Images
Hammers boss Slaven Bilic says he expects star Frenchman Payet to stay at West Ham in January
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic insists that star man Dimitri Payet is committed to the club, despite remarks he has made in the French press to suggest otherwise.
The 29-year-old midfielder, who finished in the top 20 of the European player of the year awards, is attracting interest both from the Premier League and Europe, but West Ham insist he is going nowhere.
“That is our statement, we don’t want to sell him,” said Bilic, clearly frustrated by the question. “Speculation is starting again because he is a great player.
“But he has a long contract with us and we are going to do anything we can to make sure he stays with us.”
So what about the statements that Payet has been making in the French media, Bilic insists that it means little.
“I have spoken to him a few times. In those interviews he leaves the gate open, but it doesn’t mean he is not committed to the club. There is nothing wrong with saying he misses the Champions League.”
Payet has not quite shown the form he managed in his first season at the club, but he has still scored three goals, all of them crackers and a handful of assists this term.
“He is committed,” said Bilic. “He is in training and he plays every game for us. He has got a long contract and he knows we want him to stay.
“But he is still very ambitious and that is why he is a great player because he wants to improve. That is why the speculation is going on.
“Nothing has come from us, but we can’t stop these stories. The only way it stops is if he is injured or he starts to play badly, but we don’t want that.
“I played my best football when other clubs showed an interest in me.”
It is likely to be a nervy transfer window for West Ham fans, but Bilic will look to bring in a couple of players to strengthen his squad, with a striker and a right-back the top priority.
“Like all the managers, I am not crazy about the January window,” admitted the West Ham boss.
“But we have had a few injuries and sometimes you need to replace them. A couple of players to fill gaps with loans could work, or even better to find a permanent deal so you have less to do in June.
“If it happens it happens, if it doesn’t we have a good squad here.”
One player he will have to do without is winger Gokhan Tore, who underwent an operation last week in Germany as is likely to be out for most of the season, while the future of misfiring striker Simone Zaza is still up in the air.
“He has got an injury and that is why he wasn’t in the squad lately,” he confirmed.
“To be fair he has a very specific contract and I am going to discuss his future with him today.
“I don’t know if he will still be here in January, but we are going to talk today and try and find a solution.”
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