FROZEN-out goalkeeper Marian Kello last night thanked the Hearts supporters after negotiating an early release from the Tynecastle outfit.
The Slovakian spent much of Wednesday afternoon attempting to secure his exit from a deal which was due to expire in the summer, and finally ironed out the paperwork yesterday.
He will leave the club with immediate effect.
Kello had not featured for the Edinburgh club since January, having refused to accept a £100,000 move to Austria Vienna on deadline day of the winter transfer window.
The club’s board, led by majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov, prohibited manager Paulo Sergio from selecting the player after that decision.
Upon departing, he said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank my team-mates and the Hearts supporters who have always made me feel so welcome. I will always value my time at the club and wish them all the very best for the rest of the season.”
He originally moved to Tynecastle on loan from Kaunas in August 2008, eventually making the switch permanent two years later.
The 29-year-old’s form last term saw him win three end-of-season Hearts awards – player of the year, fans’ player of the year and save of the season.
A Hearts spokesman said: “We would like to thank Marian for his services as he proved himself to be a key player for the club during his time here.”
Alex McLeish’s Premiership strugglers Aston Villa are believed to have already shown concrete interest in the former FBK Kaunas stopper.
Everton, Watford, Bristol City and Nottingham Forest are also thought to be tracking his progress, although the player will be unable to feature until the start of next season, having been contracted to a club upon the closure of the transfer window.