Images of a smiling Robert Snodgrass at West Ham’s Rush Green training facility – clearly delighted with his new berth – has lifted some of the bad feeling following Dimitri Payet’s departure.
The Frenchman slunk out of east London to join Marseille but not before he was forced to repay about £500,000 in wages to cover his strike.
Co-chairman David Sullivan gave an insight into the collapse of mood and morale as Payet became more unsettled.
“He’s not been talking to anyone in the squad,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live .
“He’s been sitting in the corner of the room for his meals and he’s isolated himself. Before that he was bubbly, happy, shaking everyone’s hand before the match.
“The team wanted him out, the manager – with great reluctance – wanted him out. We think it’s bonded the team better together.”
The £25million West Ham gained for the sale of the former Hammer Of The Year has helped fund two deals – for Jose Fonte (£8million) and Snodgrass (£10million) – that are being assessed as some of the best of the transfer window.
That closes on Tuesday (January 31) so the club is calling off the hunt for Scott Horgan, the Brentford striker who was the subject of a brief tug-of-war.
But Snodgrass’s ability with the dead ball may lift some of the worries about the hole left by the French international. And Slaven Bilic, who was rocked by the 29-year-old’s stance, is in conciliatory mood.
Ahead of West Ham’s match against Manchester City on Wednesday night he said that it was just business.
“Does he owe an apology? No. I wouldn’t say that,” he said.
“Players are always moving and I’m not going that dig into what he should say or shouldn’t. He is gone, he went home, that was his wish and I will not forget how good he was for us.
“He was brilliant. I was so happy and proud, with my team, my staff, to help him achieve what he did. What he achieved with us was a great story for West Ham, for the Premier League and for France.
“I’m not going to forget it just because he moved. I really wish him well.”
In his turn, Payet told a press conference in France : “I didn’t feel very good over there. I wanted to be part of this project that is just getting started. It came at a time when I missed France.
“It was drawn out because I started my stand-off with West Ham a long time ago. Slaven Bilic had his view. I spoke to him. I don’t want to talk about this at the moment, but I don’t have to justify my behaviour.
Bilic also revealed the worst kept secret in the football world – that the club’s stated decision to keep Payet on the books whatever the cost was just a ruse.
“That was part of the tactics. It was obvious from the day I announced it openly that he would go and we wanted the best price possible, of course.
“I want to thank him for everything he did for us - he was brilliant last year. We were brilliant for him also. Now that story’s finished I wish him luck and all the best in Marseille.”
Bilic admitted he had been interested in bringing former West Ham striker Demba Ba back to the club from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua, but the player has yet to recover fully from a broken leg.
The Hammers boss also confirmed that defender Reece Oxford is joining Reading on loan.
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