Hearts are interested in signing the Scotland international goalkeeper Allan McGregor as their new No 1.
The 35-year-old from Edinburgh tops a list of Tynecastle targets, although he is under contract at Hull City for another 12 months.
Hearts are keen to bring him back to Scotland, but any move will depend on McGregor and Hull reaching an agreement over the final year of his deal, and then on whether his wage demands fall in line with Hearts’ budget.
McGregor is keen to leave the KCOM Stadium to play regularly after falling to third-choice keeper behind David Marshall and Eldin Jakupovic. He spent the second half of last season on loan at Cardiff City. Several other English clubs are also interested in signing him.
The former Rangers man is highly rated by the Hearts head coach Ian Cathro and director of football Craig Levein. It was Levein who, as Scotland manager, helped revive McGregor’s international career by recalling him in 2010. He had been banned from representing his country by the Scottish Football Association the previous year for his role in the infamous “Boozegate” scandal.
Levein and Cathro are now searching for Jack Hamilton’s replacement and see McGregor as a vastly experienced option. Hamilton was first choice at Tynecastle last season, however his squad number has been changed to No 13 ahead of the new campaign, leaving the No 1 jersey free. Swedish goalkeeper Viktor Noring, previously Hamilton’s understudy, has been given No 31.
A deal for McGregor remains some way off at the moment but Hearts officials are exploring the possibility of bringing him back to his home city in time for the new campaign.
One player who does look likely to be heading to Tynecastle is Ashley Smith-Brown after Hearts’ season-long loan offer for the Manchester City left-back was accepted. Provided a few remaining details are finalised, the 21-year-old should join up with Cathro’s squad in time for their pre-season trip to Ireland next month.
City are happy for the player to spend the season at Tynecastle to enhance his development and challenge him physically. He spent last year on loan in the Netherlands with NAC Breda, helping them win promotion to the Dutch top flight.
Smith-Brown is an attack-minded left-back, who has represented England at every youth level up to under-20.