New Hearts defensive midfielder Loic Damour admits he is grateful manager Craig Levein did not bear a grudge, two years after opting for Cardiff City over a proposed switch to Tynecastle.
The Frenchman was unveiled as the club’s fifth summer recruit yesterday morning after signing a four-year deal in a transfer from the Welsh outfit.
It was a straightforward decision for Damour after being afforded just 21 minutes of English Premier League action by Blues manager Neil Warnock last term.
As well as being aware of Hearts owing to Levein’s prior interest when he was director of football above then head coach Ian Cathro, Damour did not have to look far in garnering additional information on the club.
The 28-year-old is the best friend of Hearts defender Clevid Dikamona – a former team-mate at French side Bourg-Péronnas – and played alongside Callum Paterson and Sol Bamba, formerly of Hearts and Hibernian respectively, at Cardiff.
After his move to the Welsh capital turned sour following the success of playing 32 times in the successful promotion charge from the English Championship in the 2017/18 campaign, Damour is now delighted to be at Hearts.
“When he (Levein) called me back, I was very happy – very happy,” said Lamour, who could be handed an immediate debut in today’s Ladbrokes Premiership visit of Ross County as Hearts look to respond from last weekend’s 3-2 loss at Aberdeen
“He wasn’t upset with me, so that’s okay. It’s better late than never, to sign for Hearts.
“At the time I said I was going to Cardiff – but I’m sure he understood my decision.
“And I was right because it was a good two years for me in Cardiff, mostly.
“I have kept an eye on Hearts since – because of that but also because Clevid is here.
“I’m a great friend of Clevid, our wives and kids are friends as well. Two years ago, Clevid was my neighbour and our daughters went to school together.
“I followed last year when they started really well but, in the end, won nothing – which was sad for the club. But I’ve followed Hearts for two years now.
“I also talked with my guys down in Cardiff, Callum Paterson and Sol Bamba.
“They both said good things about this team and this city.
“Callum told me I would enjoy the stadium, that the fans were good, that I would love it here.
“Bamba told me it’s a massive derby, you’ll see.
“So yeah I can’t wait for this game, and Celtic and Rangers, there are a lot of good games.”
Damour has been recruited to fill the void left by Peter Haring in the holding midfield position as the Austrian continues his recovery from a long-standing groin complaint.
Levein, however, still remains interested in vastly experienced Republic of Ireland internationalist Glenn Whelan following the 35-year-old midfielder’s departure from Aston Villa.
The former Scotland manager said: “Glenn came over and trained for a day with us and we had a chat.
“It’s a big move for him as it’s the first time he’ll have moved away from his home.
“Everywhere he’s been in England he’s stayed in the same place, he’s never been away from his wife and family.
“That’s something he is considering, and I get it.
“We have to be patient because I don’t want him to come if he’s not right or he’s worried about what’s going on back home.
“Sometimes the human things are the things you need to get right.”
Beyond Levein’s pursuit of Whelan, he admits there could be more arrivals before the Scottish transfer window closes on September 2.
“There’s another couple of things on the horizon but I need strong binoculars to see them at the moment,” said Levein.
“One or two things have come up that might happen and are quite interesting.”
Levein also conceded that there had been tentative enquiries regarding Scotland international defender John Souttar.
He added: “There’s been interest but not at anywhere near the level I would value.”