Sam Nicholson is expected to seal his exit from Hearts by signing a two-and-a-half-year contract with Major League Soccer side Minnesota United over the weekend.
The 22-year-old winger rejected the offer of a new deal from the Edinburgh club in order to embark on a fresh challenge following a decade at Tynecastle and three-and-a-half years as a first-team regular.
After being impressed by what Minnesota had to offer when he visited the club earlier this month, Nicholson has decided to continue his career in America. Once putting the finishing touches to his transfer, he will fly to Minnesota imminently to join up with his new team, who are half-way through their season in MLS’s Western Conference.
The Hearts academy graduate, who was initially keen to move to England, had been linked with a host of British clubs, with Rangers interested when previous manager Mark Warburton was in charge. The fact he has joined an American club means Hearts will not receive any compensation, but Nicholson has requested that a sell-on clause be inserted to his contract which means his boyhood club will benefit should Minnesota cash in on him in future.
Nicholson, who made his first-team debut under Gary Locke in 2013, leaves Hearts having scored 15 goals in 127 appearances, the majority as a starter. His last season at the club was marred by a serious knee injury which ruled him out for four months and badly affected his sharpness and confidence when he returned to a struggling team in the closing months of the campaign.