The Australian international was linked with a move to Asia last week, which was dismissed as "pure speculation" by Hearts boss John McGlynn. But McGowan's agent, Lou Sticca, suggested the 23-year-old was on the verge of heading to an unnamed club in the Far East after six-and-a-half years at Tynecastle. Sticca said: "Ryan will be on his way to China to talk to a leading club there within 48 hours, with the full permission of Hearts.
"A transfer fee has been agreed in principle and it's a matter of Ryan having a look around and considering personal terms.
"There has been interest from a number of clubs but the offer from China is the one Ryan is looking at most closely."
McGowan is one of several players entering the final six months of their contracts and, with Hearts in financial difficulties, McGlynn faces the prospect of many first-teamers departing in the January transfer window. As well as McGowan, fellow defenders Andy Webster and captain Marius Zaliukas are out of contract at the end of the season.