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Ian Harkes explains Dundee United contract delay and opens up on Jack Ross talks

Staying put: Harkes
Staying put: Harkes

Ian Harkes concedes that the departure of Tam Courts gave him food for thought as he weighed up his Dundee United future.

However, the American midfielder is adamant the ‘ambition’ of new boss Jack Ross soon put his mind at ease as he hailed the patience displayed by the Tannadice club.

Harkes penned a new one-year deal on Thursday, finally ending all uncertainly amid links to English outfit Morecambe.

Courier Sport revealed on June 9 that Harkes was ready to commit his future to the Tangerines — with the club even prematurely announcing the agreement earlier this month.

Discussions became a little more protracted after Ross replaced Courts in the United dugout.

But he ultimately decided to continue his career in the City of Discovery. 

Ian Harkes will be a Dundee United player next season

“I had the summer when I was weighing up a few things,” Harkes told DUTV. “I was naturally weighing up all options. 

“But the club was always patient with me and always there. I’m very thankful for that.

“A few things maybe changed the timeline; [like] the change of managers.

“In three-and-a-half years at the club I’ve had three managers and things changed on that side as well.

“There’s been a lot of change and with the news of Tam [Courts] leaving, I wouldn’t say it put things on hold — but you just weigh it up, see who is going to come in and who is going to push the club.

“But it was great for me to come in and speak to the manager [Ross] and share his thoughts about everything.

“It was really positive and it was great to see his ambition for what he will bring to the club.”

Euro draw

Allied with the persuasiveness of Ross, the lure of European football was another major draw for the ex-D.C. United ace.

Harkes was named United’s player of the year as they secured continental qualification last term, bagging vital goals against Dundee, Aberdeen and Celtic as the Tangerines sealed fourth spot.

He added: “With the hard work done by the group, you want to see the end goal of that and hopefully push on beyond those first couple of games in Europe. It’s really exciting to be a part of.”

Harkes missed the final two months of last season with an ankle injury, bringing arguably his most impressive campaign since arriving in January 2019 to a premature halt.

“Getting back healthy and getting my ankle right was a big part of things,” added Harkes.

“I’m happy to say it’s at a good level to get back in and train with the boys and hopefully join in soon. I got a little session on Thursday and it feels good to be back in with everyone.”

Ian Harkes signs new Dundee United deal as Tony Asghar drops massive transfer hint

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