Loic Damour leaves Tynecastle after Hearts agree deal with French club
Hearts midfielder Loic Damour has left Tynecastle Park and returned to France to sign a deal with Le Mans, the Evening News can reveal.
The Edinburgh club accepted an offer from their French counterparts which will see Damour, 30, spend this season on loan in the Championnat National.
He travelled from Scotland on Saturday and arrived back in his homeland to begin a mandatory seven-day Covid isolation period. He is due to sign paperwork as soon as the quarantine ends.
Hearts verbally agreed to the proposal from Le Mans which could save them around £100,000 in wages for the out-of-favour Damour. The French third division side cannot contribute a huge amount of money to his salary due to their lower-league status.
Under the terms of their offer, Hearts will still pay most of the player’s wages for the next 12 months – and then release him from the final year of his contract next summer in order to join another club if there is sufficient interest.
Tynecastle officials would have preferred a permanent transfer now but the player’s lack of competitive action has put potential suitors off. He played in pre-season friendlies this summer before falling out of manager Robbie Neilson’s plans.
Damour is eager to restart his career and chose to accept a move to a part-time National side in order to get playing regularly again. He joined Hearts on a four-year deal as one of their highest earners in August 2019, but has not appeared competitively in maroon since March 2020.
Speaking to the Evening News last week, Neilson explained that both parties wanted a deal concluded. “Loic wants to go and play. We spoke to him about that and I want for him to go and play as well. There is an offer there and we are just trying to get things done,” he said.
Damour was signed from Cardiff City by former Tynecastle manager Craig Levein. He has made 21 competitive appearances to date in Scotland but none since Neilson took charge of Hearts for the second time in June 2020.
His pre-season performances this year did not result in a first-team renaissance and, by the time Neilson’s side were beating Celtic on Saturday night, Damour had landed in France to begin the next stage of his career.