French club Marseille continue to test the resolve of West Ham with an improved £22million bid for unsettled playmaker Dimitri Payet.
But the extent of the club’s fury over the whole episode is evidenced by reports that talks lasted just a few minutes and the offer dismissed as an insult.
Payet has said he wants to leave and never play for the club again. The fans have turned on their former hero and it seems an unlikely that peace will break out any time soon.
The club is digging in its heels on a point of principle although few expect this to end with anything other than Payet sloping away from east London. If West Ham hold out during the transfer window, the chances are that he will be open to all-comers in the summer and West Ham would be looking at a figure around the £30million mark.
The club does not need to sell the Frenchman whose tactic may backfire, leaving him a pariah at the Romford training ground, not training with the first team but with the U23 side and becoming less visible.
Bilic said he felt “let down and angry” at the decision although coverage has emerged of former Hammers manager Harry Rednapp lamenting the decision by Bilic to leave the club in 1997 in similar circumstances.
The first team was given Monday off following their 3-0 win over Crystal Palace, featuring a goal of the season contender from Andy Carroll.
After that match, Bilic said: “Payet is a great player so you are losing quality, but the team showed it is about the team and not individuals,” he said.
“This is a great example for that. So let’s talk about Carroll, or Darren Randolph, or Mark Noble.
“Michail Antonio had flu and a temperature of 38.4F. He showed brilliant determination, brilliant quality. That’s what I want to talk about.”
Co-chairman David Gold linked Payet’s situation with that of Diego Costa who is believed to be agitating to leave Chelsea for Chinese riches.
“With a number of top Premier League players holding clubs to ransom is it time to close the January transfer window?” Gold wrote on Twitter.