TALKS on Blazej Augustyn’s Hearts future are on hold until the club guarantee a top-six place.
Head coach Robbie Neilson wants to keep the Polish centre-back, who is out of contract in June, but will not open talks until next season’s budget is finalised.
Hearts are third in the Ladbrokes Premiership and on course to reach the qualifying rounds of the Europa League. However, management are taking nothing for granted when it comes to finances.
Midfielder Arnaud Djoum, centre-back Igor Rossi and winger Jamie Walker all signed contract extensions near the end of last year. Hearts have also held discussions with goalkeeper Neil Alexander and forward Osman Sow aimed at keeping them at Tynecastle.
Augustyn, 27, is viewed as a key part of Neilson’s plans but must wait until top-six football is secured before he will be offered a new deal. “We’ve signed up Rossi but Augustyn is one that comes down to the player – what he feels like doing and what we want to do,” Neilson explained.
“I think he’s one of our key players and he’s one I’d like to do something about. It’s all dependant on firstly securing a top-six position, that impacts on the finances for next season. We have to make sure we get to that level so we have a budget to sustain it next season. Blazej needs to be patient.
“It’s similar to last year, when we had players we wanted to keep and offer contracts but we had to get promoted first. Once we get secured in the top six, then we know exactly what our budget will be for next year so we can take it from there.”