Dimitri Payet has revealed he turned down the opportunity to move to Manchester United in favour of returning to Marseille.
The mercurial midfielder was the talk of the town during a highly-fruitful spell at West Ham between 2015 and 2017, during which time his stock significantly skyrocketed and he forced his way back into the international fold for France, racking up 17 caps in 2016 alone.
Signed by the Hammers from Marseille in 2015, Payet immediately endeared himself to a fanbase that had become accustomed to a temperamental talisman or two over the years, not least Paolo Di Canio and Carlos Tevez — Payet fit that maverick brief, and then some.
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His performances under Slaven Bilic were otherworldly at times as he transfixed the terraces with exhibitions of dribbling virtuosity and gravity-defying free-kicks. It was a befitting end to Upton Park’s final year as the club bid farewell to its sacred home in 2016 and ushered in a new dawn at the London Stadium.
However, the club were unable to adapt seamlessly to their new digs and Payet ultimately downed tools until the club were forced to sell him in the January window of 2017, with the 35-year-old sealing a move back to Marseille. But, he has now revealed he had the opportunity to stay in the Premier League.
Payet told RMC Sport: “I’m not someone who lives with regrets. I made a choice, which was just as much related to football as it was to family, to come back to Marseille.
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“There were other clubs, big clubs. There were Manchester United and others. It was a personal and family choice. I think it was the best for me and my family.”
Since returning to the Stade Velodrome, Payet has been a revelation, netting 56 goals in 207 games across all competitions, including a recent Puskas-worthy worldie against PAOK in the Europa Conference League. Jorge Sampaoli’s men face the second leg of that quarter-final tie on Thursday, travelling to the Greek club with a 2-1 advantage.