Aberdeen are closing in on Birmingham City attacker Greg Stewart.
Hearts are keen on bringing the former Dundee forward back to Scotland but the Dons have moved to the head of the queue for the 27-year-old.
Dons manager Derek McInnes wants Stewart on board for pre-season training and a deal could be agreed with Blues manager Harry Redknapp also keen to bring Aberdeen midfielder Jonny Hayes to England. However, Stewart’s move to Pittodrie is not dependent on Hayes going in the other direction.
Aberdeen supporters have been bracing themselves for the departure of Hayes for more than a week after interest from Celtic and Cardiff City.
Celtic are willing to let Ryan Christie return to Pittodrie on loan for the season as part of a deal for Hayes, while the Bluebirds have since dropped out of the running.
While Cardiff’s interest has waned, Redknapp is still hopeful he can beat Celtic to the signature of the Dons midfielder and hopes he can entice Aberdeen to broker a deal by letting Stewart head north.
Stewart was a huge success during his time at Dens Park and started the season in prolific fashion, scoring six goals in three Betfred Cup ties.
His form prompted Birmingham to pay £500,000 for his services but since moving to England Stewart has struggled and ended a campaign in which he played for three different managers – Gary Rowett, Gianfranco Zola and Redknapp – having failed to score a goal in 21 appearances for the club.
Redknapp is willing to let the player, who has two years remaining on his contract, leave.
Hearts and former Jambos manager Robbie Neilson, now at MK Dons, have both expressed an interest in Stewart. But the Dons have moved to the head of the queue as McInnes steps up his efforts to rebuild his squad following the departures of Niall McGInn, Ash Taylor, Peter Pawlett and Ryan Jack, and the imminent departure of Hayes.