Hearts’ hopes of re-signing Callum Paterson this summer have been dashed after it was announced the former Jambo has agreed a contract extension with Sheffield Wednesday.
Since initially making three bids for the player in the January transfer window, Yutaro Oda has come to the fore as a key option on the right side of midfield, so the need for another player in the position isn’t as strong as it once was.
However, Steven Naismith will still be looking to improve his right side, adding competition for the Japanese and someone else to play right-back after the departure of Michael Smith.
Here are some possible players, both right-backs and right midfielders, who the Gorgie Road club could go after...
1. Joe Ward (Peterborough United)
A player who squared off against Paterson in the League One play-off semi-final, Ward got 15 combined goals and assists for the Posh and is out of contract this summer. He is, however, being courted by some Championship sides so this may be a hard deal to pull off. Photo: Michael Regan
2. Ryan Strain (St Mirren)
The right-back, who can also operate on the right of midfield, is still under contract but with one year left on his deal, a low six-figure offer may be enough to prize him away. He's another Aussie to add to Hearts' Down Under contingent, and he had a much stronger 2022/23 than Nathaniel Atkinson. Good delivery and free-kick taker. Photo: Fiona Goodall
3. James Forrest (Celtic)
Seems unlikely, but Forrest is likely to be heading away from Celtic if not this summer, then next year when his contract is up. At 31 he's too young to go into some sort of semi-retirement capacity just to remain with Celtic. Why not see if he wants to come play with his brother? Showed with a hat-trick against Hibs last season that there's still enough in the tank. Photo: Mark Runnacles
4. Fran Karacic (Brescia)
Another Aussie but this one is out of contract. Spent last season on a Brescia side which was relegated to Serie C so will likely be looking for a new home. A pacey right-back who played at the last World Cup, he's still only 27. Photo: Alex Pantling