By Pete O'Rourke

1st Nov, 2019 | 10:04am

Exclusive: Hearts make £120,000 move for 44-yr-old

Hearts are making an official approach to Motherwell for Stephen Robinson as they look to appoint him as their new manager, Football Insider understands.

The SPL club have set their sights on the 44-year-old to replace sacked Craig Levein and are ready to pay the £120,000 compensation needed to prise hm from Fir Park.

A Tynecastle source has told Football Insider that Robinson is the number one target to replace Levein and the club are ready to immediately activate the release clause in his Motherwell deal.

Football Insider first revealed on 16 September that Robinson was high up on the shortlist of targets compiled by Hearts chiefs.

Robinson signed a new contract in the summer that ties him to Fir Park until the summer of 2022.

But the source explained that the deal includes a release clause that paves the way for the highly rated ‘Well’ manager to leave.

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Robinson, who is in his third season in charge of Motherwell, is well regarded in coaching circles for transforming the club’s fortunes since taking over in March 2017.

He guided Motherwell to two cup finals in his first season in charge and they just missed out on a top-six finish last term.

The SPL minnows are currently flying high at third in the league table after accumulating six wins and 19 points from 11 matches this season.

They are 11 points clear of Hearts, who are level on points with bottom club St Mirren.

Robinson has a burgeoning reputation due to his success in working on a limited budget and helping promote youth players into the first team.

The Northern Irishman has given the most first-team minutes to academy players than any team in the UK and he has developed an environment for young talent to flourish, most notably in the cases of David Turnbull and Jake Hastie.

In other SPL news, Celtic have agreed the terms of a £5million-plus new deal.