HEARTS expect to complete the signing of Cardiff City midfielder Loic Damour on a permanent deal in time for their Premiership clash against Ross County.
The 28-year-old was initially offered to the Jambos on a season-long loan after falling out of favour with the Bluebirds, with reports suggesting those terms were all but agreed.
However, the clubs were locked in talks throughout Thursday as the Jambos pushed to secure the former France under-20 international outright.
That would require Cardiff to either annul the final year of Damour’s contract or accept a modest fee for his services, with Hearts not in a position to pay a significant transfer sum.
Nevertheless, sources close to the discussions were confident that an agreement will be struck by Friday.
Damour was due to arrive in Edinburgh on Thursday evening for advanced contract talks and, barring any unforeseen hitches, will become their fifth summer signing on Friday. He could make a whirlwind debut against the Highlanders at Tynecastle.
There was interest in Damour from his homeland, where he has previously turned out for Strasbourg, Boulogne and Frejus Saint-Raphael, but the player wanted to remain in British football.
Damour joined Cardiff from Bourg-Peronnas in the summer of 2017 after shining in Ligue 2. He made 32 appearances in his maiden campaign for the club, helping the Welsh outfit win promotion to the English Premier League.
However, he played just four times for Neil Warnock’s side last term, with just two of those outings in the top-flight – thrown on as a late substitute against Fulham and Liverpool.
And Warnock informed Damour – a teammate of ex-Jambos favourite Callum Paterson at Cardiff – that he was surplus to requirements for the coming season.
Gorgie boss Craig Levein has made the capture of a combative midfielder his top priority after Peter Haring was sidelined for two months due to a pelvis complaint and Arnaud Djoum departed the club for Saudi side Al-Raed.