HEARTS manager John McGlynn would welcome the signing of Lithuanian international striker Arturas Rimkevicius, who is currently training at Riccarton.
However, McGlynn stressed that plans to recruit new faces in January are simply a contingency because Hearts expect to lose players whose contracts are nearing expiry.
Firstly, the Scottish Premier League must lift the transfer embargo imposed on the Edinburgh club for paying October’s wages late. That runs until December 23 and, provided salaries are paid on time this month, the sanction will be removed. Hearts could then sign new players in January if necessary, with Rimkevicius already in Edinburgh after scoring 41 goals in 38 games in Lithuania, where he played for FK Siauliai.
McGlynn today cautioned that some players whose contracts end in June are likely to leave during the forthcoming transfer window. Hearts will seek transfer fees for anyone who departs and will then proceed to sign replacements on lower wages.
A total of 14 players are out of contract at the end of the season: Ryan McGowan, Darren Barr, Andy Webster, Scott Robinson, Andy Driver, Arvydas Novikovas, Marius Zaliukas, Gordon Smith, Kevin McHattie, Dale Carrick, Jack Hamilton, Fraser Mullen, Brad McKay and Danny Thomson.
McGlynn wants to improve his attacking options as soon as possible after watching his team score only 16 goals in 17 league games this season. Rimkevicius is eager to impress at Tynecastle after an explosive season in his homeland which earned him an international recall following a two-year absence. A deal for the 29-year-old now looks likely, assuming the SPL remove the signing ban on Hearts.
“He would only become available in January,” said McGlynn. “If the embargo gets lifted on the 23rd, then we obviously have an opportunity to possibly include this lad in January. I’ve said all along that we could do with strengthening. I don’t have a crystal ball, I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen in January. The SPL will have to lift our transfer embargo first and foremost.
“Sergejus Fedotovas (Hearts director) has been on record as saying that, if offers come in for players who are running out of contract, then we may have to take these. So it may be that we lose players. It may be that some players will be going out and we may have to supplement the squad. That’s how I see it.
“I can’t say things for certain but Sergejus has said we aren’t out of the woods and that players might still need to go. If we get offers for players who are in the last six months of their contract and who could leave for nothing in the summer, it may well be that we need to take some money for them in January. If that was to happen, then we would find ourselves short of bodies.
“People should understand that we aren’t going to be spending more money. “The striking department is a key area. This lad has scored a lot of goals over in Lithuania. Now, Lithuania is not the greatest standard, however, the guy obviously has a knack of scoring goals. Hopefully, he can come here and get tested in the SPL.”