Bouzid to remain at Hearts after snubbing European club offers

ISMAEL BOUZID will remain a Hearts player next season after rejecting advances from clubs in Europe and reinforcing his commitment to the Edinburgh club.

Discussions on the defender's future took place at the end of the season involving Hearts director Sergejus Fedotovas and Thomas Boehm, Bouzid's Austrian-based agent. The talks ended positively and the Algerian internationalist has informed interested clubs that he will fulfil the remaining 12 months of his Tynecastle contract.

"The situation is that Ismael has a contract for one more year," explained Boehm. "I have spoken with Sergey and everything is okay so Ismael will be staying in Edinburgh for another year.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We had interest in him but we have to respect that he is in contract. Hearts are a very good team so hopefully he will have a good season and we will see next season what is going on.

"Ismael was very close to making the World Cup with Algeria. He scored against Celtic last year which was promoted around Europe and a few teams showed some interest, but we told them he has another year's contract and that's it."

Bouzid told the Evening News last month that he was unsure where his future lay and urged Hearts to inform him whether he was wanted for next season. "I have a contract for one more year and I don't know what will happen," he said. "I need to speak with the club first. I wait for them. I need to speak with Sergey or someone to know what is happening with me. If he doesn't want me next year, okay, I will try to move. If he needs me for next year, I will stay one more year."

After receiving the required reassurance from the Tynecastle hierarchy, he has pledged his future to the club he joined last summer on freedom of contract.

Meanwhile, manager Jim Jefferies has cautioned his players that this year's pre- season campaign will be one of the most rigorous they have encountered.

Hearts will spend seven days at the exclusive Il Ciocco training camp in Tuscany, Italy, from 10-17 July. Jefferies has double training sessions planned each day with a closed-door friendly against a local club to round off the week.

"It's an ideal base for a pre-season training camp and we'll be working the boys hard, that is assured," he said. "One thing's for sure, the players will be fit by the time the season starts."