Hearts rejected chance to sign Dundee striker El Bakhtaoui

Faissal El Bakhtaoui has scored one goal for Dundee this season
Faissal El Bakhtaoui has scored one goal for Dundee this season
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Hearts rejected the chance to sign Dundee striker Faissal El Bakhtaoui during the summer, fearing the jump from League One would be too much.

An agent offered the player to the Edinburgh club in May before he left Dunfermline. Head coach Robbie Neilson revealed ahead of Dundee’s visit to Tynecastle this weekend that he did consider a move. He decided to look elsewhere after watching the 23-year-old in action. El Bakhtaoui scored 30 goals in 41 games as Dunfermline won last season’s League One title by 18 points.

He became highly sought after and had a list of suitors in Scotland and England. He left East End Park on freedom of contract and trained with Blackburn Rovers before joining Dundee on a three-year contract.

The Frenchman was offered to Hearts, who were in the market for strikers after selling Osman Sow and loaning Gavin Reilly to Dunfermline. Neilson admitted he thought about taking a chance on El Bakhtaoui but felt that moving from League One to the Premiership’s top three was too big a rise.

“He was one name that was put to us. I had a look at him and watched him a couple of times,” Neilson said. “I just felt it was too big a jump to go from League One to the top end of the Premiership, where we’re looking to be. I think he’ll do well for Dundee, he’s a good player who will score goals. I just felt, with the players we had, we didn’t need another striker.

“He’s technically very good and I think, when his physicality comes, it will help him. He’s getting used to playing in this league. As I said, there’s a big jump from League One to the Premiership.”