HEARTS have offered a formal contract extension to midfielder Arnaud Djoum, the Evening News can reveal.
Financial terms have been verbally agreed with the player and Tynecastle officials are confident he will pledge his future to the club.
As of last night, the only aspect still to be finalised is the length of contract. Djoum’s existing deal expires in January but he will be allowed to choose whether he signs an 18-month or a two-and-a-half-year extension. Hearts are comfortable letting him decide his own future knowing he is happy in Edinburgh. The 26-year-old scored his second goal in five appearances on Saturday as Hearts won their fourth league game in a row by beating Hamilton 2-0. Head coach Robbie Neilson will now press ahead in an attempt to get Djoum’s new deal completed having signed him on a short-term contract in September.
“When you bring a player in, it works both ways. They take a gamble coming and we take a gamble getting them in,” said Neilson. “I think it’s worked for us all so hopefully we can get this deal tied up. We’ve offered him a contract and I don’t think we’re too far away from it getting sorted.
“He’s happy and we’re happy. I think he would quite like to get his family over here and get them settled. If we can get him signed and get it tied up then it gives him a bit more stability.
“I’m delighted with him since he came to us. The surprising thing was that he was available, a guy of his calbire. He’d played six years in the top flight in Holland and been in Belgium before that. He was in the Belgian Under-21 team with Vincent Kompany and guys like that. He played in the top league in Poland and Turkey as well. Right away, when he arrived on trial, we could tell he was a top player.”
One negative from Saturday’s win was a booking for Spanish striker Juanma which triggers an automatic one-match ban. He will now miss Dundee’s visit to Tynecastle on Saturday, November 21.
“It’s disappointing if he misses the Dundee match because he caused them problems last time. We’ll still have Gavin Reilly and Osman Sow,” said Neilson.
“Juanma is still getting used to the environment and the culture here. He came in and hit the ground running, then he had a wee bit of lull but he’s still getting used to life here. I don’t think you’ll see the best of him until February or March. By then he’ll have been here a while and be settled and he’ll know how the football is played. He’s scored goals for us at a time when, I think, there’s still more to come from him. That shows what he’ll be like when he’s properly settled.”