Hearts will sell Jamie Walker to the highest bidder this summer after the winger admitted he wants to leave Tynecastle. Director of football Craig Levein is reluctant to let the 23-year-old go but his contract expires next summer and he won’t sign another one.
Hearts will demand a transfer fee well into seven figures and have already had approaches from clubs keen to sign Walker.
A graduate of the Riccarton youth academy, Walker has been a first-team regular for the last five seasons and now wants a different challenge, according to Levein.
“It’s a normal thing to sell a player. It’s not a particular surprise,” explained Levein. “I’ve got a degree of understanding of it. Jamie has been at the club for a certain time and all these kids have gone through a tough period. They come out the other end of it as better and stronger players. They feel they’re ready to make a step. I get that. I understand it.”
“We’ve had a couple of phonecalls. We don’t want to lose him but if the right offer comes in then we’ll need to consider it. None of the calls have been close to the right offer. I’d like to keep him and that probably taints your judgment but I can understand his position.”
Hearts are preoccupied with strengthening their squad at the moment having released six players last week – Andraz Struna, Alex Tziolis, Tasos Avlonitis, Lennard Sowah, Dylan Bikey and Moha Choulay.
Levein stated that another five or six new recruits are necessary to add to the return of Christophe Berra. The plan is to bring in players with more of a Scottish or British background.
“Yeah, there’s an element of that. Scottish or British is what we’re looking to do. How many? Five or six players, something like that,” said Levein.
• Former Hearts full-back Faycal Rherras has joined KV Mechelen. The Moroccan internationalist was released earlier this month and has moved back to Belgium, where he played before moving to Tynecastle.