Ryan Stevenson parted company with Hearts today after his contract was terminated by mutual consent. The midfielder is now a free agent after agreeing to sever ties at Tynecastle despite having 12 months left on his deal.
Stevenson was unhappy at a clause in his contract stating his salary would be cut by 50 per cent following Hearts’ relegation. Having taken a 50 per cent reduction last summer when the club entered administration, he faced playing for 25 per cent of the wage he agreed upon his return from Ipswich Town in August 2012.
Stevenson was told verbally last season that his salary would revert to its original amount once Hearts exited administration. However, following Ann Budge’s takeover and Craig Levein’s appointment as director of football, costs are being cut and the 29-year-old was informed there would be no increase.
Rather than keep an unsettled player, Hearts decided to release Stevenson and let him continue his career elsewhere. Another clause in his contract allowed him to walk away for free this summer only if he found a new team, but both player and club are now content to go their separate ways.
A Hearts spokesperson said: “We would like to thank Ryan for his contribution as a Hearts player. He scored some memorable goals for the team and in fact marked what proved to be his last game for the club with a hat-trick against Kilmarnock towards the end of the season. We wish him all the best in his future career.”
Several Scottish Premiership sides are already keen to sign Stevenson and are expected to put formal offers to the player over the coming weeks.