HEARTS’ rebuilding process under Robbie Neilson has started with the departure of Sean Clare to Oxford United, while striker Conor Washington is expected to join Charlton Athletic in the next 24 hours.
Clare has penned a three-year contract with Oxford United after an undisclosed transfer fee was agreed with the League One side.
The 23-year-old endured a sluggish start to life in Gorgie as he struggled to regain full fitness following foot surgery, but was a standout in an otherwise miserable campaign for Hearts last season.
He notched six goals in 36 outings and was reborn as an all-action right-back.
Clare tweeted: “I’d like to say a massive thank you to Heart of Midlothian and [owner] Ann Budge for giving me the opportunity to play for such a massive club and gain so many priceless experiences that improved me not only as a player but also a person.
“I’m disappointed the way the club was treated in the end, especially with so much football left to be played but I have no doubt with the players they have on board the club will be back where they belong in no time.
“I’d like to also thank all the staff and players that were there, their help and belief in me at all time, it’s something that I will always remember and appreciate.
“Lastly, a huge thanks to the fans for not only their support for me but also the crazy support they have given to the club over the years but especially in this unprecedented situation with so many new pledges and season tickets being bought.
“It shows the true heart of the club is the fans.”
Washington, meanwhile, is set to sign a two-year deal with Charlton Athletic, who were relegated from the Championship last season.
The Northern Ireland international only arrived at Tynecastle last summer, finding the net four times in an injury-hit campaign in the capital – but is one of the club’s highest earners.
Getting Washington off the wage bill will allow boss Neilson further room for manoeuvre as he reshapes his squad ahead of Hearts’ season starting in October.