Hearts and Manchester City discussed Aaron Hickey’s future and how to develop further links between the clubs during a meeting in England last week.
The Tynecastle Park owner Ann Budge, former manager Craig Levein and other club officials travelled to Manchester to meet City staff, with a potential deal for Hickey one of several items on the agenda.
The English Premier League champions are admirers of the 17-year-old defender, who has made an impressive start to first-team life with Hearts this year.
His contract runs until summer 2021 and City see him as a potential signing but no agreement was reached during the talks. It remains to be seen if they come forward with a concrete offer during the forthcoming winter transfer window. If so, Hearts would be likely to push to keep him via a loan agreement.
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The meeting had been arranged since before Levein was relieved of his duties as both manager and director of football at Riccarton. He had been down to attend prior to the change.
Hearts are keen to develop links with staff at the Etihad campus to create openings for more players to move between both clubs in the future.
The Japanese forward Ryotaro Meshino arrived in Edinburgh in August through a loan deal with City, who signed him from Gamba Osaka and instantly sent him to Scotland to get used to British football.
Hickey is attracting interest at the moment and City plan to continue monitoring him.