Dundee United want to keep Rachid Bouhenna, with old boss Csaba Laszlo interested in him

© SNSRachid Bouhenna.
Rachid Bouhenna.

Robbie Neilson is determined to keep Rachid Bouhenna at Dundee United after it emerged former Tannadice boss Csaba Laszlo is keen to sign him.

Laszlo is the manager of OSK Sepsi in Romania and previously brought Bouhenna to Scotland when he was in charge of the Tangerines.

The 28-year-old has one year left on his contract and is very much part of Neilson’s plans for the new campaign after his successful conversion from central defence to central midfield towards the end of the previous campaign.

“No doubt Csaba will be interested in quite a few of them,” Neilson said of the Bouhenna link.

“Rachid has been great.

“We decided to move him from centre-half into centre midfield because his composure and passing probably suits that role better.

“Defensively, the style of football over here meant we weren’t seeing the best of him.

“I’ve been pleased with him.”

Neilson was also keen to point out that Osman Sow remains an important member of his squad.

“Osman is definitely not one we want to move on,” said the head coach.

“For me he’s a top striker. He found it difficult to get his full fitness last season but we knew that would be the case.

“He’s come through pre-season, with just a wee precautionary thing (calf tightness), and he’ll score goals in the Championship. I’ve got absolutely no doubt about that.

“We’ve got Shankland, Clark, Sow and youngsters like Appere. You need to have players pushing each other to bring out the bets in them and you need options because of injuries you’ll pick up and loss of form.

“Osman’s a big boy. He knows what football is all about and that he has to score goals. He’s scored a couple and I’m confident he’ll score a lot more.”

Sow should be available for Friday night’s Betfred Cup opener at Tynecastle, as will Calum Butcher.

“We’re hoping Osman will be back training with us in a couple of days,” Neilson reported.

“He’s had a great pre-season but he felt it a wee bit and, with the issues he had last season, we thought it was best to take him out for a day or two.

“Butcher hasn’t played the last two games because he’s been coming back from a groin strain but he’ll be available on Friday. Pawlett should be training in a week to two weeks.”

Neilson wants to keep Bouhenna and Sow but there will be a bit of squad trimming in the next few weeks.

He explained: “There are one or two who will have to move one – not because we need to do it but because guys need to play football.

“We’re looking to have a tight squad and give our youngsters a chance.

“We’ve got the likes of Banks, Chalmers and Mochrie. And Appere has come in and done fantastically well in pre-season. The pathway is important for young players.

“One or two will go out on loan but we’ll definitely keep a few in the squad. I feel we’ve got good enough senior players to carry the young boys, help them through and get them the games they need.”

Pablo Ganet has moved on, with a decision to be made on fellow midfield trialist Adam King by the end of the week.

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