Clevid Dikamona will terminate his Hearts contract and go back to France but aims to return to the club next season once the coronavirus crisis has passed.
Hearts owner Ann Budge has written to players and staff asking them to take a 50% pay cut to help the club deal with the financial impact of the football shutdown, and says she will discuss contract termination with those who won’t accept the reduction.
Dikamona, who has just over two months remaining on his current Tynecastle deal, plans to return to France but says he sees his long-term future in Edinburgh and doesn’t plan to discuss deals with other interested teams.
In a note to supporters issued on social media, the 29-year-old said: “As you know, the club, as all clubs, are going through a complicated time, the owner Ann Budge asked all the employees of the club to reduce their salary by 50 per cent in order to help the club cope with the situation.
“I have simply agreed to help the club by adhering to the requests of the owner and as I have indicated I am also ready to re-sign a contract with the club as soon as the situation will be clear, and especially if the club wishes to make me a new contractual proposal – because as everyone knows I am attached to this club and Hearts will be my priority for next season.
“The end of my contract comes now rather than in May simply to allow me to return to France now with my family and in good condition and not in the will to flee my responsibilities with the club or to anticipate a transfer window which, from my point of view, will be a real challenge for everyone when the situation is clear.”
Other clubs are expected to follow Hearts in attempting to cut costs as the lack of matchday revenue hits businesses. But players’ union PFA Scotland warned on Thursday that their members should be part of discussions and no ultimatums should be put to players.