JAMIE WALKER, the Hearts midfielder, has described the Rangers transfer saga which soured his first spell at Tynecastle as "a mess" and, with the benefit of hindsight, accepts that neither he nor the capital club were blameless.

Nevertheless, the returning winger is adamant there was never any ill-will between himself and manager Craig Levein, insisting he is ready to end his career in Gorgie. Ideally, having lifted a trophy.

The Ibrox club had three separate bids for Walker rejected in the summer of 2017, the highest being in the region of £600,000. Hearts held firm despite Levein confirming that he was keen to leave his boyhood club.

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Walker ultimately joined Wigan in a £300,000 deal in January 2018 and, despite making just nine appearances for the Latics, has no regrets about taking the leap to English football. He does, however, wish he could turn back the clock and handle the exit better.

"I don’t have regrets about the departure, but just the whole Rangers thing,” Walker acknowledged honestly. “That turned into a bit of a mess.

“It was tough and I think maybe the club and myself didn’t deal with that in the best way.

“I’m thankful that is all in the past and I am looking forward to the future and doing well for Hearts. It is up to me to score goals, do well and help the team on the pitch.

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“There was a perception from people on the outside, because of the Rangers situation, that Craig [Levein] and I didn’t get on. That wasn’t the case.

“We were both men about that and accepted that what happened, happened. I have always got on with Craig and I like him as a manager. He seems to like me as a player and can get the best out of me, so there were no hard feelings at all between us.”

Meanwhile, Hearts have been left in the dark as Arnaud Djoum edges closer to a big-money move to Saudi Arabia.

Reports emerged from the Middle-East yesterday that Djoum, 30, has agreed a two-year contract with Pro League outfit Al-Raed.

Djoum is currently on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations ahead of Cameroon’s last-16 clash against Nigeria on Saturday, meaning no official announcement over his future is expected until the Indomitable Lions’ campaign has ended.

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However, his contract officially expired on June 30 and, as such, he is under no obligation to inform Hearts chiefs of his plans.

Sources within the Hearts training camp in Dublin last night confirmed that they have had no contact with Djoum’s representatives to indicate once and for all whether he will be taking the capital club up on their offer of an extended deal in Gorgie.

A contract for ex-Lech Poznan and Roda JC remains on the table but the Hearts hierarchy are understood to be increasingly pessimistic of their chances of retaining the player.

Djoum joined Hearts in September 2015 following an unhappy spell in Poland and went on to score 16 goals in 128 appearances for the club.