For West Ham fans, this month represents transfer window to forgetn so far. The saga surrounding star man Dimitri Payet has been a blow to both Slaven Bilic and the fans and the hierarchy at The London Stadium have had a hard time dealing with the matter as it is such a blow when your top player wants to move on.
The Hammers’ 3-0 win over former manager Sam Allardyce and his Crystal Palace side, just days after the announcement that Payet was refusing to play, showed that Bilic’s side have enough about them to pick up points without their French playmaker.
However, it was the strong statement made by co-owner David Sullivan in his programme notes that drew most of the attention.
“The board’s position is that we do not want to sell Dimitri,” he wrote.
“We do not need to sell Dimitri for financial or any other reasons, and we will NOT sell Dimitri in the January transfer window.”
Whilst that statement, alone, shows a strong club aware of their stance and reaffirming the old cliché that no one player is bigger than the club, the club will only really come out of this well if they manage to sell Payet for a big fee but only to a Ligue 1 club on ‘their terms’ .
Manager Slaven Bilic has stuck to his word and sent the 29-year-old to train alone or with the youth side, those higher up may appear to be having their arms bent by the Frenchman.
With former club Marseille looking hell-bent on securing a deal, the initial ‘We will not let a player dictate our business’ stance is looking more fragile by the day and, with Payet’s family having already moved back across the channel, it appears a deal is just around the corner.
The outpour of anger from Hammers fans towards their fallen hero seems to suggest that there would be no way back, however, football fans can be swayed quickly.
Should the board actually stick to their guns and keep the former St. Etienne man at the club this month, once Bilic is happy with his attitude, a few goals and fancy flicks and Payet will be well on his way back into the hearts of supporters.
The saga around the midfielder has not been the only cause for frustration in Stratford this month, however.
The departure of summer addition Simone Zaza highlighted a clear failure from the club in their summer dealings, something which is yet to be rectified this month.
One deal which could, however, salvage some faith in the club’s transfer policy is their supposed move for Southampton defender Jose Fonte.
Whilst the Saints fans are also on the end of a Payet-esque situation with their captain, landing a deal for the European Champion would seem like a very smart piece of January business.
Whatever happens regarding Payet this month, it is quite clear that those in the boardroom in east London will be hoping to do a good deal or 2 in the window no matter who is involved to appease fans until the summer window reopens.