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McGowan heads to China

Australia international Ryan McGowan is poised to leave Scottish club Hearts for Chinese Super League side Shandong Luneng Taishan.

McGowan departed for Shandong on Wednesday after the financially-troubled Hearts accepted a bid reported to be worth around $630,000 for the defender.

The 23-year-old, whose contract is due to expire at the end of the season, will miss Hearts’ Edinburgh derby against Hibernian on Thursday.

“He’s subject to a medical, so he won’t play any part in the game tomorrow,” Hearts manager John McGlynn said.

“The football club’s accepted a bid, and although there’s no pen to paper, we obviously run the risk of him getting injured and possibly giving that deal a problem.

“It’s obviously disappointing to lose him but it’s the state of affairs at the football club.

“We’ve said before that if good offers come in then the football club, because of the financial situation we find ourselves in, will need to accept them.

“That’s where we are, however, he’s not put pen to paper and I know from that point of view a fan would say that he’s still a Hearts player and he should play, but the fact is that if he went and got a serious injury then that deal would go down the tubes.”

McGowan joined Hearts in 2008 and made his Socceroos debut in a friendly against Scotland in Edinburgh last year.

“He’s been a big player for me,” McGlynn added.

“Since the summer he’s played every single minute of every single game. He’s a massive influence, both on and off the pitch.

“He’s a really good character and you can’t get enough good characters, he’s a great lad. So he’ll be a big miss for me.

“He’s been here a number of years and I don’t think he wanted to go and the club get no money back for him.

“He’s an amazing boy and you can understand why everyone, players, staff and fans, would take to him.”

Wed 2 January, 2013
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