Just a year after signing a lucrative new deal with West Ham, Dimitri Payet was out the door at the club.
In January, West Ham manager Slaven Bilic disclosed that the Frenchman no longer wanted to play for the London side. Former club Marseille were his main suitors and a move would materialise, against expectations, by the end of the winter transfer window.
In an interview with L'Equipe, Payet has explained why he forced that move away from the Premier League side. Essentially, he was bored with the club's style of play.
After a 1-0 win against Hull in mid-December, one where West Ham fans voted the post Man of the Match, Payet said he knew he had to leave.
I no longer wanted to play in a team at the bottom of the Premier League. Our way of approaching matches, I didn't like the defensive system put in place.
Playing 4-5-1, I could have all the liberty in the world – it was complicated to express myself. You can say I was bored, yes.
I was going through matches without any pleasure. Then I had contact with Marseille, especially with Rudi Garcia who has a philosophy I know well. The choice was quick. If I had waited six months, I was losing six months.
I didn't hesitate. With West Ham at home against Hull (on December 17) we won 1-0 and they hit the woodwork four times.
In the changing room, everyone was pleased but the man of the match that day had been the post. I thought I would not progress anymore.
On the contrary, I took the risk of going backwards. I needed another challenge.
The 29-year-old adds that family problems were also a factor in his decision to leave West Ham - everything was not going well off the pitch. It seems the return to France may have alleviated those issues.
In February of last year, just seven months after joining the club, Payet was handed a new contract. However, months later, Payet claims he had already told Bilic that we wanted to leave.
I warned them: I was going to do it and maybe they didn't take me seriously. I told them face to face that I accepted the consequences of my actions.
Slaven Bilic knew that I wanted to go elsewhere. Already at the start of the season, when I left the Euros, we had talked about it.
The club shut the door. I respected the choice. But the sporting situation deteriorated. In January, I said to him that I wanted to leave for Marseille and not anywhere else, asking him to pass the message to the directors. The day he said the answer was a definite no, I replied to him that I would no longer play for West Ham.