As the Dimitri Payet saga rolls on we now have just a week and a half until the 11PM deadline of the 31st January to sort all the ins and outs. Marseille seem to be happy to hold firm in looking to capture Payet for a mere £22 million which is at best two-thirds his actual value but West Ham are holding out.
Meanwhile, Payet has started training agin and is with the 'kids' in the development squad in an effort to keep fit. Interestingly, there seems little evidence of the 'injury' that was initially cited as a supporting reason for his not playing, until the 'family not happy' excuse was wheeled out.
As with any controversy, some commentators are looking for a contrarian angle by suggesting that Payet is not to blame and that big bad West Ham are bullying him to stay when he needs to move back to Marseille to save his marriage. In reality, refusing to play for your club is a highly unusual move that is impossible to support.
Payet's apparent absolute commitment to Marseille is also difficult to fathom as in reality he only spent two seasons there and is remembered with mixed affections by fans. Payet's strike rate at Marseille (15 goals in 83 apps) was much more modest than that since joining West Ham and he certainly did not enjoy the hero status bestowed upon him at West Ham.
If James Tomkins suddenly expressed an overwhelming desire to return 'home' to his beloved West Ham then it would resonate, but Payet's link with Marseille is much less convincing. It's worth noting that Payet behaved in a very similar way whilst at St Etienne but the club refused to budge and ultimately he returned to action and shrugged off the incident as a minor issue!
As for the argument that he is accepting a pay cut of £25K per week - in actual fact he would still be earning 40K more than when he left Marseille 18 months ago.
For now, Payet can wow our kids in the development squad. It's hard to see a return to the first team for him but stranger things have happened (e.g. Jermain Defoe remained at West Ham after his insensitive transfer request in 2003 - albeit only until he became a liability on the pitch by getting himself sent off a few times!
11 days to go....let's hope our bosses are giving plenty of time to addressing the (many) other issues that need looking at in the transfer window - a striker, another midfielder and more right back cover!