Hearts boss eyes new faces as interest in Kyle Lafferty mounts

Hearts manager Craig Levein revealed today that he wants to sign another midfielder plus a striker before the transfer window closes.

Hearts striker Kyle Lafferty is attracting interest from abroad
Hearts striker Kyle Lafferty is attracting interest from abroad

The Evening News has learned that foreign clubs are ready to try to prise Kyle Lafferty away from Tynecastle, and Hearts would consider selling if an acceptable offer arrives.

Lafferty is due to return from suspension for tomorrow night’s Premiership match against Celtic but he is the subject of mounting interest overseas. His long-term future is uncertain as Hearts have not ruled out the prospect of their top goalscorer leaving. To date, no formal bids have come in for the Northern Irishman.

Esmael Goncalves’ £300,000 transfer to Uzbekistan has been completed, while Cole Stockton joined Carlisle United after being released by Hearts on Friday.

Losing those attackers plus Lafferty would leave the Edinburgh club extremely short up front so Levein is focused on recruiting. After Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Motherwell ended an 830-minute run without conceding a goal, he is now hunting two new players.

“Hopefully we can get some bodies in before the window closes just to strengthen things even more,” he told the Evening News. “We need a striker, although we have Kyle back tomorrow night. We want somebody who knows how to handle this league or a league like it so I’m working on a number of things.

“I’m also looking for another midfield player, a more defensive type. With David Milinkovic, Anthony McDonald, Harry Cochrane and Danny Amankwaa, we have quite a lot of creativity in there. We lack somebody who does the holding job as well to allow us to be even braver going forward.”

New signing Amankwaa made his debut as a substitute at the weekend. Milinkovic also came off the bench before scoring his second goal in two games. That put Hearts 1-0 ahead but they conceded a 96th-minute equaliser to Motherwell’s Curtis Main in a dramatic ending.

“I thought Amankwaa and David did well when they came on,” said Levein.

“Anthony McDonald looks like being a really exciting prospect and Andy Irving was good in midfield. John Souttar and Christophe Berra were fantastic and young Demetri Mitchell is a superb football player.

“He has given us something different down that left side.

“I’m disappointed losing the late goal and I can’t believe we didn’t get two penalties in the game.

“However, we are playing Celtic away tomorrow so people will be sharp for a game like that.”