Conor Sammon was shown around Hearts’ Riccarton traing ground yesterday as the Tynecastle club edged closer to signing the Republic of Ireland striker.
The former Kilmarnock forward is a free agent having been released by Derby County and is understood to be amenable to a return to Scotland, with Aberdeen also interested in the player.
Sammon, 29, left Killie for Wigan Athletic in the English Premier League midway through the 2010-11 season after a prolific spell in which he scored 15 league goals in 23 matches in the Scottish top flight.
Wigan paid £600,000 for his services but Sammon found goals harder to come by, with just one strike in 32 league games in his 18 months at the DW Stadium.
Nevertheless, Derby County paid £1.2 million to sign him in August 2012 and he was a regular in the Championship for two seasons, scoring ten league goals in 83 games.
He has spent the last two seasons on loan at Ipswich Town, Rotherham United and Sheffield United.
Hearts are keen to bolster their attacking options following the departures of on-loan striker Abiola Dauda at the end of the season and Osman Sow to China in January.
“The striking department is definitely an area we need to strengthen,” Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson told the Edinburgh Evening News.
“We have Gavin Reilly and Juanma, with Dauda going back to Vitesse. It’s an area where we need someone in,”
“Myself, John Murray [chief scout] and [director of football] Craig [Levein] are all trying to do it. We’re looking through players and we get reports in all the time. It’s important that the players who come in are better than what we have and better than the players who have left. The higher up we go, the harder that can be. We have targets and we will try to get them.”
Dublin-born Sammon has been capped nine times by the Republic of Ireland and joined Kilmarnock in 2008 from Derry City.
He struggled for goalscoring form initially on moving to Scotland but enjoyed a purple patch in the 2011-12 campaign under then manager Mixu Paatelainen.
Hearts are also close to signing Moroccan full-back Faycak Rherras who played in the Belgian league last season for Sint-Truiden but is now available for free.
He is currently training with the Moroccan Olympic squad in Marrakesh and is due at Tynecastle towards the end of next week.
Rherras, 23, was born in Belgium but chose to represent Morocco, the country of his parents.