HEARTS have offered a contract to Northern Ireland international defender Aaron Hughes until the end of the season.

If he accepts, the 37-year-old will become head coach Ian Cathro’s first signing since joining the club last month.

Hughes is currently a free agent after spending the last six months in the Indian Super League with Kerala Blasters. It is believed he is now keen to return to the UK.

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He has previous English Premier League experience with the likes of Newcastle and Aston Villa and represented his country at Euro 2016, helping Michael O’Neill’s side into the knockout stage where they lost out to Wales in the last 16.

The news comes as fellow central defender Alim Ozturk left Tynecastle to sign for Turkish second tier side Boluspor on an 18-month deal.

The 24-year-old began the season as club-captain but fell out of favour under Robbie Neilson before losing the armband to Perry Kitchen in September.

He previously played in Turkey for Trabzonspor before signing for Hearts in 2014 and captaining the Tynecastle side to the Championship league title.