Armand Gnanduillet joins Tynecastle outcast as striker signs permanent deal with French side

Armand Gnanduillet has left Hearts to sign with French third-tier side Le Mans on a permanent basis.

The 29-year-old striker joined Robbie Neilson' s side in the 2021 January transfer window and helped the Tynecastle side capture the Scottish Championship title.

However, he found himself out of favour in recent weeks, often left on the bench even when the only other natural striker in the squad, Liam Boyce, was unavailable for selection through injury.

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Teams in England were said to be interested in the former Blackpool and Chesterfield forward, but he's instead opted to return to his homeland with the Championnat National club.

Armand Gnanduillet celebrates after scoring against Dundee United in August. It would prove to be his only goal for Hearts this season. Picture: SNS

In total, he scored six goals in 30 appearances for Hearts, though only one of those came after ascension back to the cinch Premiership.

He joins Loic Damour in the Le Mans dressing room. The midfielder, who hasn’t played for Hearts since the club’s premature relegation in 2020, is on loan for the season and has made 13 appearances so far.

Meanwhile, former Gorgie Road favourite Kyle Lafferty has made a return to Scottish football, re-signing with Kilmarnock on a short-term contract until the end of the season.

Lafferty was a popular figure with the support during his sole full season in Edinburgh, where he netted 19 goals in what was otherwise a disappointing 2017/18 campaign.

He left to join Rangers the following August for a six-figure sum but failed to establish himself in Steven Gerrard's side.

He returned to Scottish football last year with Kilmarnock. Even though he made a significant impact, scoring 13 goals in 13 games, he couldn't save the Rugby Park club from relegation.

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