Craig Levein: Hearts unlikely to make Steven Naismith deal permanent

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Hearts boss Craig Levein admits it is unlikely Steven Naismith’s loan move will be made permanent after the forward joined from Norwich.

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New Hearts signing Steven Naismith is unveiled to the press. Picture: SNS

New Hearts signing Steven Naismith is unveiled to the press. Picture: SNS

The Scotland international arrived at Tynecastle on Thursday to sign a six-month loan deal following a frustrating spell on the sidelines in England.

An ankle injury has restricted Naismith’s playing time this season, but upon his return to fitness he struggled for game time and fought to secure a move away, with Hearts pipping a number of clubs to his signature.

Levein sees the deal as something of a coup, but admits the finances behind the move mean a permanent transfer in the summer is unlikely.

“I think that will be difficult,” he said. “It is quite a costly exercise for us for where we are at just now.

“To do it on a permanent basis would be extremely difficult.

“My priority was trying to get him through the door, so nothing has been spoken beyond the loan deal.”

The two worked together almost a decade ago when Levein was in charge of Scotland.

That working relationship was important in getting the deal over the line and Naismith’s professionalism will be crucial in the dressing room.

Levein said: “I know him reasonably well having worked with him in the Scotland job, we always had a good relationship and I rate him very highly as a player and as a person.

“We heard he was getting a bit frustrated and not playing, so we tried to get him in and thankfully we’ve managed to get him.

“He scores goals, is energetic and a very good player. He is a really decent guy as well and that side is important.

“I am hoping that personality will rub off on some of the younger players.”

Levein has so far brought in Demetri Mitchell alongside Naismith with Jamie Walker going the other way, and there could be more to follow.

“There are some players who are frustrated that they are not playing and have made it clear to me that they want to move on, and that’s a normal situation in any window,” said Levein.

“Whether that happens I don’t know, but yes we could see some players leaving but nothing is for definite.”

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