Football

Wantaway Payet isolated by teammates

France international Dimitri Payet's refusal to play for West Ham has led to his car being vandalised, reported The Daily Mail.

The 29-year-old's vehicle was apparently damaged outside his home with the perpetrator hurling a brick through the window.

The Frenchman - who along with his wife Ludivine are keen to return to the south of France and are demanding he be allowed to join former club Marseille - has also been effectively closed out by his teammates who have deleted him from the team's WhatsApp group.

He has also been barred from team-bonding sessions and dinners and has effectively been sent to "Coventry" - the English term for shutting someone out and refusing to engage with them.

"The team are all part of a WhatsApp group and they were all messaging each other to arrange going for dinner at the start of this week," a club insider told The Sun.

"Then one of the players said, 'Actually, thinking about it Dimi, we don't want you to come'."

Last Saturday, after Hammers manager Slaven Bilic revealed Payet (below) wouldn't play for the team, a steward had to guard the photograph of him outside the Hammers stadium.

Fans at the match against Crystal Palace also changed the words to the laudatory chant they used to greet him with, inserting more colourful and abusive language - West Ham made light of his absence with one of their best performances of a troubled season by strolling to a 3-0 win.

RELEGATED

Payet, who has been sent to train with the Under-23 squad, joined West Ham from Marseille for £10 million (S$17.6m) in 2015 and signed a £125,000-a-week five-year contract last February.

West Ham are believed to have turned down offers of £19m and £20m for Payet, who had a sensational first season, scoring 12 goals and supplying 12 assists.

According to the British media, Marseille are prepared to make a third bid of £25m.

Even though co-owner David Sullivan said last Saturday he wouldn't allow him to leave, recent events might persuade the club to free themselves of a troublesome influence. - AFP

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