Mehdi Taouil leaves Kilmarnock for Hearts

Hearts have signed former Kilmarnock midfielder Mehdi Taouil on a three-year deal after his contract expired at Rugby Park at the end of last season.

Taouil rejected Kilmarnock's offer of a new contract and becomes Jambos manager Jim Jefferies' fourth summer signing.

Jefferies has already added John Sutton, Jamie Hamill and Danny Grainger to his squad for next season, and is thrilled with his latest capture.

"He had a few options, we're delighted to have got him," said Jefferies.

"He is strong, a good passer of the ball and can hold it up well for others.

"He can also bring us something going forward from midfield and it is good to have that sometimes."

He is something a little bit different to what we have and I'm confident he will be a good addition to the squad

Jim Jefferies Hearts manager

Jefferies is also confident that Taouil can produce performances to endear himself to the Hearts faithful.

"Hearts supporters like to see special talent and he has that in his locker," he told the Edinburgh club's website.

"It is a step up to a big club for him, but if we can get him playing at his best, he is someone the fans will appreciate.

"He is something a little bit different to what we have and I'm confident he will be a good addition to the squad."

The France-born Moroccan international was brought to Kilmarnock by Jefferies after he left Montpellier in 2007.

Kilmarnock caretaker Kenny Shiels, who is expected to be confirmed as manager on a permanent basis on Wednesday, had hoped to extend Taouil's stay in Ayrshire.

However, the Moroccan becomes the third high-profile departure from Kilmarnock's midfield this summer.

Playmaker Alexei Eremenko returned to Metalist Kharkiv at the end of his loan, while Scotland international Craig Bryson has been sold to Derby County.