Former Hearts playmaker Jamie Walker believes his career can flourish at Wigan Athletic after revealing that he was not short of interest since the January transfer window opened.
The attacking midfielder was officially unveiled as a Latics player on Monday afternoon after clinching his £300,000 transfer from Tynecastle on a two-and-a-half year contract.
Rangers failed with several bids to land the 24-year-old during the summer, while it is thought that Blackburn Rovers had made a move for Walker prior to the player deciding to join Paul Cook’s English League One leaders.
After making his debut for Hearts in August 2012, Walker, who joined the capital club as a ten-year-old, went on to score 40 goals in 181 appearances and is confident he can excel south of the border.
Walker said: “I am delighted to be here. It has been on the cards for a while but I am delighted to now get it over the line and concentrate on playing my football.
“I have been at Hearts a long time, it’s a great club with great people and I played a lot of games there and scored a lot of goals.
“This is a good change for me and certainly a club where I can progress my career; I am delighted to be here and hopefully I can kick on.
“I had a few clubs sniffing around but as soon as I came here, saw the facilities, met the manager, watched a game and saw how the manager wants us to play and how that will suit me perfectly, that’s why I chose here.
“The team are flying high at the top of the table and hopefully going to the Championship – hopefully I can get into the team and contribute a few goals.
“The manager said he likes to get the ball down and pass it around and that’s what I like to do.”
Walker will have to wait to make his debut after picking up a knee injury in his last Hearts game on December 27 in the goal-less draw with Edinburgh rivals Hibs.
A scan showed that the problem was not as bad as first feared and the former Scotland Under-19 internationalist is hopeful of being available before the end of the month.
He added: “I came down and had the medical and that’s all okay.
“I just have a little knock that I took in the derby in my last game for Hearts – hopefully I will be back playing in a couple of weeks and I’ll get out there and see the fans.
“It’s not a long-term injury. Hopefully I can get some fitness under my belt working with the physios and sports scientists and get to know the boys and the area.
“It’s not the end of the world.”
Confirming Walker’s departure, Hearts said in a statement: “Jamie Walker has left Heart of Midlothian to join Wigan Athletic for an undisclosed fee.
The 24-year-old makes the move to the English League One side on a two-and-a-half-year deal, moving immediately to the DW Stadium.
“Jamie joined Hearts at the age of 10 and made his debut in August 2012 against Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
“He went on to make a total of 181 appearances in a maroon shirt and bagged 40 goals, including 11 in the 2014/15 Championship-winning season.
“The club would like to wish Jamie every success in his career down south.”