Hearts coach Gary Locke has said Ian Black sees his future away from the club, after an “outstanding” season.
The Tynecastle side announced on Sunday that Black will leave Hearts at the end of the season as they decide not to extend his contract.
Black has won acclaim for his performances in the Hearts engine room this term and is seen by many as a top contender for the club’s Player of the Year award.
But the Hearts hierarchy and the player have decided to part ways after the Scottish Cup final in May.
Locke said: “He’s had discussions with the board and they’ve both come to the agreement that he’s going to move at the end of the season.
“From a personal point of view and on behalf of Paulo and the backroom staff, he has been fantastic for us, absolutely outstanding and close to being the club’s Player of the Year.
“He’s obviously decided that he sees his future elsewhere. Even if we wanted to keep him or not, if he wants to play somewhere else then we wish him all the best because he’s a fantastic lad and he’s a played a huge part in the relative success we’ve had this season.”
Paulo Sergio’s coaching team is preparing for a number of players to depart in the summer, as Hearts look to cut costs and live within their means following a season where the players faced wage delays either side of the new year.
Locke said that they hope a core of experienced players will be retained to help the transition for a number of promising academy graduates.
He said: “I think everybody knows the club is looking to cut costs and to do that we need to offload a lot of players. We’ve got a lot of players here and the club spends a lot of money every month of salaries and it’s something we’re looking to reduce.
“From a coaching point of view we’d like to try and keep some of our more experienced players because we’ve got a lot of talented young boys but we need experience around them to bring them on.”
A route south to the English leagues looks most likely for Black, who started his career at Blackburn Rovers before moving to Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
Locke added that he has no doubts Black would be a success south of the border.
Locke said: “I think he would be a revelation down there. I know he went down to Blackburn as a kid but I think now, at 27, he’s reaching his peak.
“I think anybody who has seen him playing this season would totally agree that if he goes down to England he’ll do very well.”