David Sullivan hits out at Dimitri Payet after he completes Marseille move

• Payet leaving West Ham was in ‘interests of squad unity,’ says Sullivan
• Forward, who has effectively been on strike, signs four-and-a-half year deal

Dimitri Payet has completed his £25m move to Marseille from West Ham United, signing a four-and-a-half year contract with the Ligue 1 club. Payet pushed hard for the transfer, citing family problems as the reason he wanted to return to his former club – from which he joined West Ham in a £10.7m deal in the summer of 2015 – and he was effectively on strike in east London since 10 January.

That was the day he met with Slaven Bilic, the West Ham manager, to inform him that it was his wish to be allowed to re-join Marseille, who are now under the ambitious ownership of the American businessman, Frank McCourt. Payet refused to play for Bilic’s team and he was banished to train with the under-23s.

Bilic has felt betrayed by the 29-year-old, who was rewarded for his brilliant form with an improved contract in February of last year, which would pay him £125,000 a week until 2021, and the club’s initial position was to hold him to the terms of it, on the assumption that, if they dug in for the remainder of January and refused to sell, perhaps he could be reintegrated into the team in February.

But they soon came to realise that his position at the club was untenable – partly because many of the squad’s senior players did not want him back in the side. The notion of letting the player rot in the under-23s side was offset by the prospect of haemorrhaging so much money on him in wages.

It became a question of West Ham getting what they could for him in terms of the fee and they wanted at least £30m. But with Marseille opening the bidding at £19m and edging up only gradually, the London club were forced to compromise.

West Ham’s co-chairman David Sullivan said on the club’s website: “The club would like to place on record its sincere disappointment that Dimitri Payet did not show the same commitment and respect to West Ham United that the club and fans showed him, particularly when it rewarded him with a lucrative new five-and-half-year deal only last year.

“I would like to make it clear that we have no financial need to sell our best players and that the decision to allow Payet to leave was in accordance with the wishes of the manager and the interests of squad unity. To be frank, my board and I would have preferred for him to have stayed in order to make an example of him, as no player is bigger than the club.

“I am confident that with the quality of the players we have brought in during January already, the squad will be stronger at the end of this transfer window than it was at the start. We now look forward to building on our recent good run of form with five league wins in the last seven matches as we focus on continuing our rise up the Premier League table.”

Payet has retained strong links to the coaching staff at Marseille and he will now hope to get himself back on track – on and off the field. West Ham have signed the attacking midfielder Robert Snodgrass from Hull City for £10.2m, and expect to complete a deal for the Brentford striker Scott Hogan, worth upwards of £13m, before Tuesday’s transfer deadline. They have also taken the defender, José Fonte, from Southampton for £8m.