West Ham United transfer target Duje Caleta-Car has reportedly been threatened with punishment by Marseille for refusing to leave before the deadline.
West Ham have been heavily linked with the Croatian defender ever since having a bid accepted for him by Marseille last year (The Guardian).
Indeed according to L’Equipe and Get French Football News, West Ham submitted a bid of around €14m (£12m) plus another €3m (£2.5m) for Caleta-Car just last month.
West Ham boss David Moyes prioritised a new centre-back during the summer window after the departure of Fabian Balbuena.
Defender was reported Moyes target all summer
With Angelo Ogbonna turning 34 next season and doubts over Craig Dawson and Issa Diop’s ability to perform at a consistently high level, Moyes focused his attentions on Caleta-Car, Nikola Milenkovic and Kurt Zouma.
In the end Moyes paid £29m for Zouma to solve that problem.
There was still speculation West Ham could sell Diop and sign Caleta-Car right up to deadline day.
Wolverhampton Wanderers were also linked with the 24-year-old international teammate of new West Ham signing Nikola Vlasic.
Caleta-Car parked in reserves as Marseille threaten West Ham target for refusing to leave
But in the end Caleta-Car remained at Marseille. And it seems his club are not too happy about that.
“The 24-year-old had received an offer from West Ham earlier in the summer, as well as Wolves and Valencia in the final moments of the transfer window – all three propositions would have seen him earn a similar salary as at Marseille. All three propositions were turned down,” La Provence, RMC Sport and GFFN report.
“His departure would have allowed for Amine Harit’s loan move from Schalke to go through more quickly, and give the club some leeway to sign a backup striker to Arkadiusz Milik…
Seriously harsh treatment so watch this space come January
“The club is considering taking action against the player’s refusal to leave, with potential sanctions including an exclusion from matchday squads and a demotion to the reserves.”
That seems seriously harsh treatment for a player who wants to STAY at your club.
But it perhaps highlights just how hard up some of these clubs are across Europe and in the French league in particular.
And Marseille clearly wanted a slice of that pie judging by their reported actions.
Even Ligue 1 champions Lille have been forced to sell off their squad amid financial difficulties.
State-backed PSG have no such issues of course.
One of the key lines in the report is that Caleta-Car may reconsider a move in January.
So if Diop fails to impress Moyes between now and then, watch this space.