West Ham vice-chairwoman Karren Brady insists the club had no choice but to sell Dimitri Payet over his conduct, stating he behaved like a "naughty schoolboy".
The Frenchman effectively forced his sale to Marseille during the winter transfer window, refusing to play for the club.
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Forced to cut their losses as they continue to fade into mid-table mediocrity, West Ham eventually sanctioned his return to Stade Velodrome for £25 million.
And while Brady believes the £15m profit the 29-year-old's sale represented a coup, she lamented his behaviour throwing away everything he could have achieved at the club.
"Payet would have become a legend to every Hammers supporter but he’s a dead loss instead," she wrote in a column for The Sun.
"It would be unfair to say he hasn’t been trying this season but the manager knew in the weeks before Christmas that his heart wasn’t in it.
"Once [manager] Slaven Bilic realised the damage Payet was inflicting to morale, we did the only thing that made sense. We sold him for as much as we could, to the only club who wanted to buy him.
"That was £25m to Marseille, representing 250 per cent of the original price we paid to them 18 months ago.
"On paper, good business; in reality, bad business. But other than treat a man like a naughty schoolboy — and with no legal right to force him to play — we took the only sensible option available."
Payet's second Ligue 1 debut for Marseille on Friday against Metz ended in a 1-0 defeat.