Hearts boss Craig Levein keen to sign one more striker

Hearts manager Craig Levein will attempt to sign a new striker before Wednesday's transfer deadline provided Esmael Goncalves and Cole Stockton are transferred out of Tynecastle.

Saturday, 27th January 2018, 5:30 am
Hearts manager Craig Levein

Levein is awaiting confirmation of Goncalves’ £300,000 move to Pakhtakor Tashkent of Uzbekistan, whilst Stockton is close to completing a switch to English League Two club Carlisle United.

Defender Krystian Nowak is also on the verge of leaving after undergoing a medical at Greek Superleague side Panionios.

The manager hopes to reinforce his forward line before the transfer window closes, with Kyle Lafferty and on-loan Steven Naismith remaining as the only options up front. Levein said he hadn’t heard anything about reported interest in Lafferty from Sunderland.

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Hearts secured the signing of Danish winger Danny Amankwaa from FC Copenhagen on Thursday on an 18-month deal. The club have the option to extend that agreement by a further year if the player impresses.

“Whenever you make a signing, there’s always an element of risk. The risk here is bigger because Danny has had injury problems,” explained Levein. “We gave him an 18-month contract and we’ve got another year’s option on it just to see how it goes.

“It’s a safety net just in case. I’m expecting him to be a success. The Danish climate isn’t that much different, he speaks very good English, so a lot of the things you would worry about are not an issue. I accept the injury thing. I’m taking him on knowing there is an injury background.

“If he’d torn his thigh muscles three times, I’d be wary. He snapped his Achilles once, which John Souttar did and came back stronger. He’s had two knee problems but it’s just cartilage. Callum Paterson had that, Jamie Walker had it and Rory Currie has one just now. These things are not muscular. It’s not like he’s broken down in any way.

“He was really highly regarded. He’s been at Copenhagen since he was 12. He went in, played and got injured. Then he got injured again, then got injured again. You think that surely the player who was in there is still there. It’s just a matter of giving him 60 games and seeing what happens.”

Asked about Stockton, Levein replied: “I’ve had a chat with him, he’s a bit frustrated and his agent is looking for something else. I said I would let him go if he found something.”

Similarly, Nowak was told he was free to leave if he wanted to play regularly. “I said to Krystian and his agent that, if he finds another club, we won’t be difficult to deal with,” said Levein.

Goncalves headed to Uzbekistan for a medical on Thursday and will not be involved in Hearts’ Premiership match against Motherwell this afternoon. “We are waiting. He’s not in the squad for today,” said Levein.