Contract talks at Hearts as 14 players' deals come into focus

Discussions will take place with several key players at the end of the season

Hearts will hold end-of-season talks with a large chunk of their first-team squad in an effort to plan for the future. Players whose contracts are due to expire in summer 2025 will come into focus as club officials look to remain pro-active in their business dealings.

A total of 14 players will have a year left on their deals come this summer and Hearts intend to offer extensions to some of those. Others will need to produce more consistent performances next season in order to earn a longer stay at Tynecastle Park. It is also possible that one or two could be sold before the 2024/25 campaign begins to maximise their transfer market value.

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The 14 men in question are captain Lawrence Shankland, goalkeepers Zander Clark, Craig Gordon and Harry Stone, defenders Nathaniel Atkinson, Stephen Kingsley, Alex Cochrane, Toby Sibbick and Lewis Neilson, midfielders Jorge Grant, Cammy Devlin and Finlay Pollock, plus winger Barrie McKay and forward Liam Boyce. All of them will enter the final 12 months of their contracts when they report to Riccarton for pre-season training in June.

Hearts want to ensure they stay in control of squad movement as much as possible and keep hold of their key players. Shankland is the most high-profile on the list having failed to agree terms to extend his agreement earlier this year. Cochrane was the subject of interest from English clubs, but Hearts would want a minimum £2m to sell the left-back. Those two and others will be invited for further talks when the competitive season ends.

"There will be players in the summer that we will speak to, whether something can be done or not," head coach Steven Naismith told the Edinburgh News. "It's predominantly the guys who have a year left and where we see them sitting. There are a few of them at different levels. Some need to show us more next season, then we can potentially renew their deal. Some won't and some we will look to do quite quickly at the end of the season."

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Shankland's future will continue to be the subject of much discussion inside and outside Tynecastle, but Hearts are in no doubt that they want to keep him in Edinburgh. He will be one of the priorities for sporting director Joe Savage over the coming weeks. "Yeah, we want him to stay at the club," remarked Naismith. "We stopped talking a few weeks back because there was no point going on at that stage. We wanted to focus on the football.

"We will hopefully talk to Kingsley at one point. He's got a year left. There are a few others. Alex Cochrane comes into that category as well. These things will play out and we will get to an end point and move on and you look to replace. Or the guys renew and they are still within the group."

Hearts players whose contracts expire this summer are midfielders Beni Baningime, Peter Haring and Andy Halliday, plus goalkeeper Michael McGovern. Halliday and McGovern are on loan at Motherwell and Livingston until the end of the season. Baningime has not agreed to sign a new deal so far and the others have not been offered one.

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