By Harvey Byrne
Dimitri Payet’s agent has denied quotes attributed to West Ham’s star player in which he was “100 per cent” staying at the club.
The Sun reported on Friday morning that the France international would not be quitting the club this summer in what appeared to be total commitment to the Hammers ahead of the new season.
Hours later, Payet’s representative Jacques Olivier Auguste has done an interview in France in which he claims those quotes have been manufactured.
“I am surprised by this information because Dimitri has not done an interview with any media outlet,” said Auguste to French publication Daily Mercato.
“The only thing that is certain is that he is enjoying his holidays that he deserves and he is licking the wounds caused by the EURO 2016 final defeat. So he is only thinking about recharging at the moment. These declarations are pure inventions in the imagination of a journalist. This deserved a response.”
This throws new doubt on Payet’s future and will be a source of frustration for West Ham fans who would have been delighted to have seen such a key player apparently committing his short-term future to the club.
The Frenchman has been linked with a mega-money transfer this summer on the back of his eyecatching displays for club and country in the last 12 months.
The PFA player of the year nominee signed a new five-year contract midway through last campaign and the club’s co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan rated him in the £50million-£100million bracket earlier in the week.
The 29-year-old starred for France at Euro 2016 with brilliant late goals in both of his national side’s opening victories and finished as a runner up in the tournament, after an extra-time 1-0 defeat to Portugal in the final.
Payet joined West Ham from Marseille last summer for around £12.5 million, and was integral to the Hammers sensational season, scoring 12 goals and providing 14 assists in all competitions.
Manager Slaven Bilic will be looking to know what his star man’s decision is about his future as soon as possible with the new league season and Europa League qualifying fast approaching.
In other West Ham transfer news, Enner Valencia is closing in on a transfer to Lazio that could be worth £10million.