Aloisi, Heart closing in on key midfielder

The club claim their off-season recruitment drive is progressing well, with a deal hopefully due to be completed for a versatile holding player

John Aloisi says Melbourne Heart are making progress in their search to sign an influential midfielder ahead of the 2013-14 A-League season.

Heart are short of numbers after releasing veterans Fred and Matt Thompson, while they are tipped to lose out-of-contract star Richard Garcia.

According to Aloisi, the club are closing in on a player who can complement the likes of Jonatan Germano, Iain Ramsey and new arrival Massimo Murdocca.

"We've got two more foreign spots to fill and if the right one comes along ... we think we're close to getting a defensive midfielder who can control our game," he told Radio Sport National on Wednesday.

"I think that's important for us, to have someone in the midfield who can link up between the defence and the strikers. We're looking at someone that is experienced and who is great on the ball, so that we can dictate to the opposition how we want to play.

Heart have also been seeking a replacement for centre-forward Eli Babalj, who ended his brief second spell at the club by returning to Europe with AZ Alkmaar at the end of last season.

"The search goes on for a striker, we've got quite a few names but I want to make sure we get the right one," Aloisi said.

"The first and foremost priority is the defensive midfielder, once that is done I can make sure we get the striker we need."

Speaking to Goal Australia, Heart chief executive Scott Munn confirmed the club had the resources to achieve those recruitment targets, with an overseas player likely to fill the midfield void.

"We're keen to fill those positions and working pretty actively to secure those," he said.

"We've still got a large amount of money left in our salary cap. I'd expect at the minimum at least one more signing to be a foreign player and possibly two. And that will happen over the next two to three weeks."

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