West Ham open Payet contract talks


West Ham have initiated talks over a new contract for Dimitri Payet, denying reports of a disagreement with the player's agent over specific demands for fresh terms.

Reports emerged this week suggesting Payet's agent was demanding a sizeable wage hike for his client, who has been West Ham's star performer this term since arriving from Marseille on a five-and-a-half-year deal in June.

Coach Slaven Bilic urged the club's bosses to keep the France international, and their other top players, happy this week ahead of their move to the Olympic Stadium next season.

And the club clarified in a statement on Tuesday that initial talks over a new contract had been "amicable and productive".

"Following reports in today's media, West Ham United would like to clarify that at no time have Dimitri Payet or his agent made any demands to the club over a new contract," the club said.

"However, the club can confirm that due to Dimitri's outstanding impact since his arrival at the Boleyn Ground, they have initiated amicable and productive talks about an improvement and extension to his contract.

"Those talks are progressing well and it is hoped they can be concluded shortly.

"Dimitri would like to make clear that he is very proud to play for West Ham United and he appreciates the support he has received from the Board, manager and fans since he joined the club in the summer."

Payet has six goals and five assists from 22 appearances this term, having been sidelined for almost two months by an ankle injury sustained in November.