Craig Levein: I wish Arnaud Djoum well but Hearts could not compete with Saudi cash

Hearts boss Craig Levein alongside Arnaud Djoum
Hearts boss Craig Levein alongside Arnaud Djoum
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Craig Levein has wished Arnaud Djoum a prosperous future after admitting Hearts could not compete with the money on offer in Saudi Arabia.

Djoum rejected a proposed contract extension at Tynecastle Park to join the Saudi club Al-Raed on a lucrative two-year contract, and Levein harbours no grudges.

“I spoke to Arnaud on Monday night for a chat,” explained the Hearts manager. “The good thing about Arnaud is that he is very straightforward and very low-maintenance. When we spoke about a new contract a while ago, he made the point that he hadn’t been lucky enough to make any real money to put behind him during his football career.

“He had been jumping about from place to place and hadn’t really played at a big club, or a club who had a lot of money. We didn’t pay him a lot of money so I completely understand his situation. He has two kids and got the chance to earn a decent salary. We were always struggling to compete with that.

“He goes with my best wishes and those of everybody else here. Arnaud is a wonderful person and a really nice guy. Hopefully he goes on to get another two-year contract [in Saudi Arabia] further down the line. Then he can buy me a beer.”

Hearts could now sign another midfielder to avoid being left short. “Arnaud is away and Peter Haring is still having problems in the pelvic area,” explained Levein.

“Olly Lee is injured so that leaves us a bit threadbare in central midfield. We have Harry Cochrane, Oliver Bozanic, Andy Irving. There is a chance I will bring one more in because I don’t want to leave myself short.”