Dimitri Payet should respect West Ham and their fans, says Rio Ferdinand

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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Dimitri Payet should respect West Ham and their fans, says Rio Ferdinand” was written by David Hytner, for The Guardian on Wednesday 25th January 2017 22.30 UTC

Rio Ferdinand says that Dimitri Payet has a debt to West Ham United, as he criticised the France winger for the manner in which he has attempted to drive a move back to his previous club, Marseille.

Ferdinand, who began his playing career at West Ham, sided firmly with the club’s supporters, who have been left to rage over Payet’s behaviour, while he also questioned the type of advice that the player had been given, adding he would make the forward “sit and rot”.

Payet is refusing to play for West Ham and it feels as though he has worn the club’s shirt for the last time. The issue remains the size of the fee on any forthcoming transfer, with Marseille having offered £23m and West Ham holding out for at least £30m.

Marseille’s latest bid represented an increase of just £1m on their previous one, which had come more than a week beforehand and it is clear that they are unwilling to go much higher. It has come down to a game of brinkmanship before next Tuesday’s deadline with Payet, in the meantime, training with the West Ham reserves. Many of the club’s first-team players do not want him back.

There are two sides to the story and Payet’s is that he needs to return to Marseille for personal reasons. He is even willing to take a pay cut to do so. But sympathy is in short supply for him among those associated with West Ham and Ferdinand attacked him for his decision to effectively go on strike.

“What should West Ham do with him? It is not a difficult one,” Ferdinand said. “I look at it from when I played football and I would never have said: ‘I am not playing.’ I had problems at football clubs at different times. At Manchester United, I had problems with the club at various times, with certain people, but it never entered my mind not to play.

“You owe it to the club and the fans – especially where he came from before he got to West Ham. They gave him the platform to play at the Euros last summer, they gave him a platform to get a new contract and to become a player that is known in the football world, and you have to respect that.”

Payet joined West Ham from Marseille for £10.7m in the summer of 2015 and his outstanding form saw him rewarded with a new contract last February, which is worth £125,000-a-week until 2021. But Ferdinand said that if he was the West Ham manager, he would tell Payet to “sit and rot until I get what I want for you, money-wise”.

Speaking at the launch of Star Sixes, a six-a-side tournament for ex-internationals to be held at the O2 in London this July, Ferdinand, who will captain an England team, added: “From a fans’ perspective and from someone who follows West Ham, I understand the fans’ frustrations.

“A lot of them would give their right arm to play for West Ham and would not understand how a player could say he would not play. They would do it without thinking. Who is advising him? He is a grown man and should understand it himself but sometimes you are in a bubble and need good advisors and I question that.”

Meanwhile, Chelsea’s return to the London Stadium to play West Ham has been rescheduled for a Monday 6 March. The two teams first played at the venue in the EFL Cup in October but the encounter was marred by ugly clashes between fans.

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