Football: Adam's admiration for Guerin

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The Independent Online
STEPHANE ADAM believes Hearts will give out a strong signal about their ambition if they secure the services of the midfielder Vincent Guerin.

The 29-year-old Tynecastle striker makes no secret of the fact that he is a big fan of his fellow Frenchman. Guerin, who is out of contract at Paris St Germain, has already had a training session with the Edinburgh club, who left yesterday for the Cup-Winners' Cup game against Real Mallorca.

The Hearts manager, Jim Jefferies, is keen to sign the 32-year-old former international and is hoping his bold bid will come to fruition 24 hours after the first-round, second-leg game.

Guerin has been capped 19 times and, apart from Hearts, Marseilles and clubs in America's Major League Soccer and Japan's J-League are monitoring his availability.

Adam said: "Vincent is a very good player, who has played at the highest level. He has quick feet, plays it nice and simple and links up well with the other players. I think he would be a brilliant signing and an important one for it would show how much ambition we have. Not only would he add depth to the squad, but his presence would benefit the young lads in the club.

"I played against him twice when I was at Metz, and they were both hard games. He is a quality player, no doubt about that."

"I spoke to Vincent after the training session and told him about life in Edinburgh. Hearts are an ambitious club but a family club as well. We like a joke and some fun.

"When I speak to my former team-mates in France, I tell them of the joy I have playing in Edinburgh. But whether Vincent will come here, I really don't know. I know he has other offers to consider."

Jefferies was made aware of Guerin's availability through the West Ham manager, Harry Redknapp, who had the Euro 96 star on trial.

The Hearts manager said: "I was surprised Guerin was available, and I kept nipping away at him and his agent to see what we could work out. Stephane and Gilles [Rousset] told me he was a top quality player, and I would do well to get him.

"So it was good to see him in training, and I'll be on the phone as soon as we return from Majorca to get an update on his position. Hopefully, we will know something on Friday. I don't want this to drag on."

In January, Guerin was banned for 18 months with 12 months suspended after testing positive for the banned steroid nandrolone last September. His appeal on the grounds that he had taken the drug unknowingly was rejected.

Meanwhile Rousset, who has missed the last two games with a back injury, travelled with the squad that left Glasgow yesterday. He could return to the side tomorrow, but Steve Fulton, who has a hamstring injury, is rated only 50-50.