Ryan Stevenson faces returning to Hearts on 25 per cent of his original salary unless he finds a new club in the next six weeks.
The midfielder is contracted at Tynecastle until June 2015 but plans to leave as he is unhappy with the terms of his contract.
The Evening News has learned that Stevenson has a clause in his deal stating he can leave Hearts for free this summer, provided he has a new club to join. He is also due to have his salary cut by 50 per cent following the club’s relegation to the Championship.
Having already accepted a 50 per cent reduction last June when Hearts entered administration, that would leave him on 25 per cent of the initial wage he agreed upon his transfer from Ipswich Town in August 2012. Stevenson signed a three-year deal under then-manager John McGlynn but agreed to have his wage halved along with Jamie Hamill and Jamie MacDonald last summer. A clause in the new agreement states that amount is due to half again as a result of relegation.
A meeting between Stevenson and Hearts’ new director of football Craig Levein ended abruptly on Monday as Stevenson objected to the latest wage reduction. He had been given verbal assurances last season that his salary would revert to its original amount once the club exited administration. Consequently, he is now seeking a move elsewhere.
Levein has informed Stevenson that he will need to stick to his existing contract to remain at Hearts. The club expect the 29-year-old to report for pre-season training on June 26 unless they receive documents stating he has a contract offer to join another club.