Glenn Whelan is close to signing for Hearts, with the help of fellow Dubliner
Craig Levein is confident of securing Glenn Whelan’s signature this week and his Hearts assistant is playing a central role.
The Ireland midfielder (35) remains a free agent following his abrupt release from Aston Villa within a week of helping them secure promotion to the Premier League through the play-offs in May.
Mick McCarthy recently spoke of his desire to see a midfielder he's started in two of his most important Euro 2020 qualifiers so far find a new club ahead of the upcoming internationals.
Hearts have tabled a 12-month contract offer after Whelan trained with the SPL club last week.
Levein's coach Jon Daly could vouch for Whelan's talent and character as the pair of Dubliners know each other stretching back to their teens.
Daly joined Stockport County around the same time as Whelan moved to Manchester City, with the trainees mixing in the same circle.
At international level, Whelan also stepped up a year from his age-group to feature alongside Daly in Ireland squads, including for the Under-20 World Cup in 2003.
Levein and Daly are eager to add Whelan’s nous to their ranks. The holding midfielder clocked up 520 clubs games at Sheffield Wednesday, Stoke City and Villa.
His start in the 1-1 draw away to Denmark in June marked Whelan’s 87 cap, one he hardly saw coming when Martin O’Neill retired him last November.
"We are continuing to speak to him and are hopeful we can get something done," Jambos boss Levein said about Whelan after their 3-2 opening day SPL defeat to Aberdeen.
"You could see today we need a bit of experience in that area.”
Should Whelan agree terms, he will join fellow Irishman Jake Mulraney at Tynecastle.