CRAIG Levein insists "wonderful" Arnaud Djoum has left Hearts with his best wishes after admitting there was no way he could begrudge the midfielder a big pay day.

Levein had offered the Cameroon internationalist a new deal to stay at Hearts, with his previous contract running out at the end of last month.

However, the Tynecastle boss has revealed Djoum made it perfectly clear he would be seeking a more lucrative agreement than the Jambos could offer.

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The 30-year-old has now penned a two-year deal to join Al-Raed in Saudi Arabia and Levein is adamant he fully understands the former Anderlecht and Rod JC player’s reasons for leaving Gorgie.

He said: “I spoke to him on Monday night, he phoned for a chat, and the good thing about Arnaud is he is very, very straight-forward, very low maintenance.

“He made the point when we spoke about a new contract, quite a while ago actually, that he hadn’t been lucky enough to make any real money in his football career to put behind him.

“He had been jumping about from place to place and hadn’t really played at a big club or a club that had a lot of money – and we didn’t pay him a lot of money.

“So, I completely understand, with two kids, that for him to get a chance to earn a decent salary, I was always struggling to compete with that.

“But he goes with my best wishes and everyone else’s. He’s a wonderful person, a really, really nice guy, and hopefully he goes on to get another two-year contract further down the line - and then he can buy me a beer!”