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Webster will leave Hearts

Andy Webster has given Hearts notice that he will be leaving the club under an obscure FIFA rule after falling out with owner Vladimir Romanov.

The Scottish centre back becomes only the second European place to invoke regulation 17 that allows him to walk away from his current contract within ‘a protected period’. The 24 year-old, previously heavily linked with Fulham, had fifteen days after the Scottish Cup final to inform Hearts of his intentions and his resignation letter has been delivered to Tynecastle.

Webster will now be able to open talks with any non-Scottish side on July 1st with FIFA adjudicating on appropriate compensation – although controversial chairman Romanov will miss on the market valuation for one of Scotland’s most consistent defenders. The centre back was dropped after refusing to sign a new contract with Hearts and his exile sparked a dressing room revolt at Romanov’s interference in team selection.

Fulham watching Webster

Fulham are preparing to test Hearts’ resolve by launching a bid to sign Scotland star Andy Webster in January, according to the Daily Record.

The English Premiership outfit sent chief scout Ewan Chester to Hampden at the weekend to run the rule over the Scotland defender on the recommendation of Craig Brown, who is a football consultant at Craven Cottage.

And they are now set to enter the race for the £1.5million-rated centre-back who turned in another impressive display in the draw with Italy.

Webster is set to win his 19th cap in tomorrow’s World Cup qualifying tie in Norway after joining Hearts from Arbroath in March 2001. The 23year-old has already been the subject of enquiries from Rangers and Celtic and any move from Fulham is sure to alert the attention of Alex McLeish and GordonStrachan.

Jambos boss George Burley is determined to hold on to Webster, who still has two years left on his current contract at Tynecastle.

But with Manchester City also monitoring his situation it seems the stopper could be on the move when the transfer window opens again in January