Former Sheffield United midfielder Jason Holt has been reassured that Heart of Midlothian will not block his proposed move to Scottish rivals Rangers, writes James Shield.
The Glaswegians, who installed Mark Warburton and David Weir as their new management team last month, want to sign the 22-year-old before the start of the new Ladbrokes Championship campaign on August 8.
Holt had seemed destined to agree a contract with United after joining the League One club towards the end of the previous campaign before a combination of factors, including its defeat in the play-off semi-finals, prompted then manager Nigel Clough to abort the deal.
With his predecessor Nigel Adkins identifying other priorities in the transfer market, Holt’s representative is keen to place his client at Ibrox.
Although his contract with Hearts has expired, Holt will still command a fee having progressed through Tynecastle’s youth system. The same legislation means United would be due compensation should Diego De Girolamo, their Italy under-20 international, leave South Yorkshire this summer.
“Jason was here since he was a kid – more than ten years – so it is important the club sees the benefits from developing a player,” Robbie Neilson, the Hearts manager, said. “We won’t demand silly money for him, we know what the financial situation is in football and we’ll take it from there. We don’t want to leave the boy in limbo but we need to protect the development fee.”
Holt made 17 appearances, scoring five goals, after arriving at United in January. He expressed a desire to return to South Yorkshire “at some point in the future” after being informed Clough, who was replaced by Adkins four weeks ago, would not trigger the ‘right to buy’ clause United had negotiated with Hearts.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Sheffield United,” Holt said. “It was an honour to play for such a big club and I really enjoyed working under Nigel Clough. If opportunities allow it, I’d have no hesitation playing for the club again in the future.
“I want to wish the players and the manager all the best for next season. I’d also like to thank the fans for welcoming me and supporting me through my time at Bramall Lane, and chief executive Mal Brannigan for helping me settle in so quickly.”