Hearts not finished in transfer window with Glenn Whelan and ‘interesting options’ on radar

Craig Levein still intends to bring more new faces to Hearts in the current transfer window after sealing the signature of French midfielder Loic Damour on a four-year contract yesterday.

Saturday, 10th August 2019, 9:42 am

The manager remains in communication with Glenn Whelan as he bids to lure the 35-year-old Republic of Ireland midfielder to Tynecastle, while he admitted a couple of other “interesting” options had arisen.

Damour became Hearts’ fifth new permanent signing of the summer following the recruitment of Conor Washington, Jamie Walker, Steven Naismith and Craig Halkett, and the Frenchman will start against Ross County today.

The 28-year-old was close to joining Hearts from French second-tier side Bourg-en-Bresse two years ago before Cardiff City trumped their bid.

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Craig Levein still intends to bring more new faces to Hearts. Picture: SNS/Bruce White

“The only reason we didn’t get him was that Cardiff came in at the eleventh hour,” said Levein. “We had agreed terms with his agent and he was going to be flying to Edinburgh. On the day before or the actual day he was supposed to be flying he went to Cardiff for a fairly significant amount of money more than what we could offer.

“Because we nearly got him I kind of kept an eye on what was going on. With Callum (Paterson) being down there I was watching Cardiff anyway. In the promotion season he played quite a lot of games, although going into the Premier League is a different thing. He didn’t play so much last year but I do think he’s what we need at this moment in time. We went to Aberdeen and played Andy Irving and Sean Clare as our deepest midfield players, which isn’t an ideal situation. Don’t get me wrong I thought they did quite well but we need somebody like Peter (Haring) to control the deeper part of the midfield.

“Loic’s a good football player and he’s got great energy and he will bring calmness to the team. It’s very difficult to get that balance right between being calm and over-confident and giving the ball away. In those deeper areas, if you give the ball away they’re right on to your defence. He’s not played an awful lot recently so he’s not going to be 100 per cent but he has been training and played in a few matches.”

Despite landing a senior holding midfielder, Levein is still keen to add Whelan. “Glenn came over and trained for a day with us last week and we had a chat,” said the manager. “It’s a big move for him as it’s the first time he’ll have moved away from his home. Everywhere he’s been in England he’s stayed in the same place, he’s never been away from his wife and family. That’s something he is considering and I get it. We have to be patient because I don’t want him to come if he’s not right or he’s worried about what’s going on back home. Sometimes the human things are the things you need to get right.

“He’s a good player. I know his character and he’s another one of these guys that would be good for the group and good for the young players.”

Asked about the possibility of any further additions, Levein said: “There’s another couple of things on the horizon. One or two things have come up that might happen and are quite interesting.”