Danny Swanson has been backed to recreate a strong midfield bond with Prince Buaben and Morgaro Gomis if he finalises a move to Hearts.
The 28-year-old is currently training with the Jam Tarts with a view to securing a contract. If all goes to plan, Swanson will be reunited with former Dundee United team-mates Buaben and Gomis. It would mean Hearts possessing three members of the Tannadice side’s much-vaunted 2010 Scottish Cup-winning midfield.
One of their former engine-room colleagues at United, David Robertson, reckons adding the former Peterborough and Coventry City player to Hearts’ ranks would be a shrewd move by director of football Craig Levein and head coach Robbie Neilson, both of whom worked with Swanson at Tannadice.
“When Danny, Prince and Morgaro played in the same team they would generally have played in a narrow three, with Danny to the right,” Robertson told the Evening News. “The three of them would all have a good rapport if he signs. Craig Levein knows him really well and it will help that these guys have all proved together that they can win at a good level. That was the core of a midfield that won the Scottish Cup.”
Robertson remembers Levein, a former United manager, being a big fan of Swanson after bringing him to Tannadice from Berwick Rangers seven and a half years ago.
“Craig definitely rated Danny highly, you could see that,” said Robertson. “It’s easy to see why anyone would rate him, he’s got so much ability. On his day, he’s really good to watch. He’s a really good footballer. He’s a creative player who always sees great passes and has a good eye for goal. He goes by people really easily and he’s got great vision to spot a pass and then make it.
“For a small guy he’s not easily knocked off the ball. He’s strong on the ball – you’ll do well to get the ball off him. He could probably play as a winger if he had to but he generally played in a more narrow right-midfield role at United. I’d guess Hearts would see him in an attacking midfield role.”
The Edinburgh-born Swanson has played in England for the bulk of the past three years, although he did spend the second half of last season on loan at St Johnstone. Robertson, also a former Saints player, knows he was highly regarded at McDiarmid Park and believes that his old team-mate will have become an even better player as a result of his time down south.
“I think he’s the sort of guy that will get better with age,” he said. “You’ll never lose the ability to see a pass and Danny’s got that in abundance. He’ll have picked up a good bit of experience from his time in England. He’ll have benefited from moving away from Edinburgh and experiencing the English game, and he’s also had a kid and got married fairly recently, so he’ll have matured as a person and a player.
“I still speak to a lot of the boys at St Johnstone and I know they rated him highly. I think he’ll do really well in that Hearts team – I’d expect him to thrive there.”