Suitors queue up for in-demand Driver

Andrew Driver is expected to leave Hearts for one of several interested clubs across Europe. Picture: SNS
Andrew Driver is expected to leave Hearts for one of several interested clubs across Europe. Picture: SNS
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CLUBS in England, Holland and France are queuing up to sign Andy Driver on loan after Hearts agreed to farm out their unsettled winger when the January transfer window opens.

The Evening News has learned that several English Championship sides, including Burnley, have declared an interest in the 24-year-old, who handed Hearts a formal transfer request earlier this week. A Dutch club, believed to be FC Twente, and an unnamed French team are also keen to negotiate a loan agreement. Driver is eager to leave Hearts due to lack of first-team opportunities and a fallout with manager Paulo Sergio.

Club officials had initially demanded a loan fee for the player but they are now willing to let him depart for free on a short-term basis. The player will consider all options available before deciding which platform he considers best to revitalise his career. England’s Championship appeals but he is not ruling out the possibility of playing abroad on loan.

Rangers manager Ally McCoist remains an admirer of Driver’s potential, however he has yet to officially join the race for his signature. The player’s contract expires in June 2013 and he is keen to put himself in the shop window by moving on loan before potentially securing a permanent transfer thereafter. Until then, Driver hopes to secure first-team football at Hearts despite the transfer request.

He declared his commitment to the club and denied suggestions he has refused to play. “It is important for everyone to know that I have a contract with Heart of Midlothian for the next 18 months and will always give 100 per cent for my employer in training and on the field, if selected,” he told the Hearts club website.

“I can understand and fully respect the manager’s reaction to misquoted media reports but I must confirm neither I nor my representatives have ever stated that I do not want to play for the club and/or the management.

“I also note there are stories regarding my use of FIFA article 17 to somehow accelerate my exit from the club. This is a complete media fabrication. I am an ambitious player and want to test myself at the highest level.

“However, my present focus is to try and achieve a starting position with Hearts.”