Callum Paterson set to explore Hearts contract options
Hearts will hold fresh talks with injured full-back Callum Paterson to see if he is willing to extend his contract.
The player and his representatives have agreed to delay discussions until after surgery on his knee, which is due to take place early next week.
Tynecastle officials want to give Paterson time to digest the news that he will miss nine to ten months of football after suffering cruciate and medial ligament damage to his left knee.
All concerned will assess results of the operation and then look at whether a new deal is feasible. Talks have been pencilled in to take place over the next few weeks.
Paterson, 22, had refused to extend his existing contract, which expires in June, because he wants to continue his career in England.
He is willing to discuss the prospect of remaining with his formative club after injury struck against Kilmarnock two weeks ago.
Hearts are keen to protect their investment in the 22-year-old, who came through their youth academy, is currently their joint-top goalscorer and a full Scotland internationalist.
They would have been due between £400,000 and £450,000 in training compensation if he left this summer on freedom of contract. Craig Levein, the club’s director of football, stated prior to the injury that Paterson wouldn’t be sold in the January transfer window for less than a seven-figure sum.
However, clubs like Wigan Athletic and Derby County, who had been eager to take him south, will now wait until he recovers fully from the knee operation.
That gives Hearts a chance to extend Paterson’s stay in Edinburgh in a move which would benefit both club and player.
One complication is that, under FIFA rules, Hearts’ training compensation fee only applies until the end of the season in which Paterson turns 23 – which is next season. Therefore, any new long-term deal would mean he could leave for absolutely nothing when it ends.