Hearts tee up Loic Damour move if Glenn Whelan deal falls through – as Colin Doyle pens new Tynecastle contract


HEARTS have held talks with Cardiff City’s French midfielder Loic Damour – but any offer for the player will hinge on whether Glenn Whelan joins the Jambos.

Tynecastle manager Craig Levein was made aware of the 28-year-old’s availability last month and initially made him one of the club’s top targets, embarking on preliminary discussions with the player.

It is understood the prospect of a season-long loan was raised.

Damour, in action in the Coupe de la Ligue (Pic: Clément Bucco-Lechat)

However, that was put on the back-burner when the opportunity to sign Glenn Whelan presented itself, with the tough-tackling, vastly-experienced Republic of Ireland international seen as the perfect addition in the centre of the park.

Whelan, released by Aston Villa this summer despite playing a major part in their promotion to the English Premier League last term, remains locked in discussions with Hearts but has yet to commit. There is fierce competition for his signature in England and abroad.

Should Whelan reject the offer which has been tabled by the capital club, Levein could turn his attention back to Damour – with all parties having remained in contact.

Securing midfield reinforcements is Hearts’ top priority after Peter Haring was ruled out for two months and Arnaud Djoum left the club for Saudi outfit Al-Raed.

Colin Doyle

Meanwhile, Hearts have handed a new contract to Republic of Ireland international goalkeeper Colin Doyle.

The former Birmingham, Bradford and Blackpool custodian has penned a one-year extension to his existing deal, keeping him at Tynecastle until the summer of 2021.

The 34-year-old said: “I’m pleased it’s done. It’s a bit easier for me as well as the family have moved up now – last year they were still down south, my eldest was doing his GCSEs. I’m really looking forward to getting my head down and getting cracking.

“It’s a massive club and I’ve only had positives since I’ve been here. The fans have been lovely to me as well. It was a no brainer for me.

“The family are up here now, we’re settled, the kids are starting a new school, so it’ll be a lot easier for me. It’s been great and the lads in the changing room are one of the best groups I’ve been involved in. I’m happy and hopefully I can get in the team and see what happens.”

Doyle made 11 appearances for the Jambos after arriving last summer, briefly wrestling the number one spot from Zdenek Zlamal between December and February.

(Pic: Hearts FC)

However, he lost his place following a high-profile error which saw Hearts slip to a last-gasp 2-1 defeat against Motherwell on February 17.

Doyle remains back-up to the Czech stopper, but shone in Hearts Colts’ 4-1 win over Albion Rovers on Tuesday night, saving a penalty kick from Daniel Scally.

He told Hearts’ official website: “I want to try and get in the team. Bobby [Zlamal] is obviously in the team at the moment, so I’ll try and do my best in training and in any games that I play – reserve games or cup games, whatever it is – I’ll try and do my best and see what happens.”