Deividas Cesnauskis on discussing transfer targets with Hearts boss Robbie Neilson and how war in Ukraine is changing the market

Former Hearts winger Deividas Cesnauskis has revealed how he hopes to use his relationship with Robbie Neilson to send talented players from the Baltics to Hearts, but war in Ukraine has limited his client pool in his new career as a football agent.

The Lithuanian played in front of right-back Neilson for Hearts between 2005 and 2009 and hopes the relationship they still have can open up a path for his clients. He has revealed that the Hearts boss has already been in touch to discuss potential transfer targets.

“I only started as an agent one year ago, so first of all I must be stronger in my country Lithuania – and the Baltic states,” said the 40-year-old, who helped Hearts win the Scottish Cup in 2006 and played for Dynamo and Lokomotiv Moscow for before moving to Edinburgh.

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“I was planning to work in Russia and Ukraine, because I played in Russia for five years and I know this market very well. But obviously the situation there now has changed because of the war so I need to open up other markets, signing up young players here in Lithuania.

Deividas Cesnauskis in action for Hearts in July 2006. The Lithuanian winger is now a football agent in his home country after hanging up his boots

“I’m trying to work in Italy, because they like young, talented players with an EU passport. So I’m trying to expand step by step and I'm open to working in other countries.”

He told Football Scotland: “ If I have a good player, then of course I would offer to Hearts if he’s good enough for them. Robbie is the coach now and is doing well after coming back into the top league with Hearts.

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“I met with him a year ago when I was back in Edinburgh for a short time and we talked about football. He played right back and I was a right midfielder, so we were very connected on the pitch.

“He’s a good person. We still have a good relationship. Sometimes we talk and he asks my opinion about some players he’s interested in, so we keep in touch.

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Deividas Cesnauskis on international duty for Lithuania at Hampden in 2016

Cesnauskis added: “To be honest I didn’t think when I played with him that he would become a manager. At that time, the teammate I thought would definitely be Steven Pressley. He was captain, that guy who kept us disciplined. He was always shouting and explaining so I thought he’d be a good coach.

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“Robbie? No, at that time I didn’t think he could be a good coach! But now he’s shown he is with good results and I’m happy for him.”

Cesnauskis was the first of the Lithuanian imports to arrive at Hearts under Vladimir Romanov along with Saulius Mikoliunas, who is still playing for the national team at the age of 38.

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The Lithuanian wingers both have teenage sons who are showing promise at BFA Vilnius academy.

Deividas Cesnauskis thought Hearts captain Steven Pressley would have been a manager before fellow teammate Robbie Neilson
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Cesnauskis explained: “My son is 14 this summer and he plays together with Mikoliunas’ son. They're in the academy and are doing well. We will see, maybe in the future you will see our sons playing football, in Lithuania or abroad - maybe for Hearts!”

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