'Disappointed' Walsall offer Hearts target Elijah Adebayo new contract

Walsall have moved to fend off Hearts’ interest in Elijah Adebayo by offering the striker a new contract.

Elijah Adebayo misses a penalty during the Sky Bet League Two match between Walsall and Southend United at Banks's Stadium on November 14, 2020. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
Elijah Adebayo misses a penalty during the Sky Bet League Two match between Walsall and Southend United at Banks's Stadium on November 14, 2020. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

The 23-year-old’s current deal expires at the end of the season. The Jambos view him as a potential transfer target and aimed to strike a deal with the League Two side this week.

However, their approach was rejected and upset Saddlers manager Darrell Clarke, who is desperate to hold on to his Fulham-trained forward.

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Clarke revealed talks over a new deal for the 6ft 4in frontman – seen as the solution to Robbie Neilson’s target-man requirements in Hearts’ front-line – have been on-going for weeks, but while he didn’t rule out a move or a sale, he said he was confident he would keep his in-demand striker.

“It shows what a good job the coaching staff and myself are doing that there’s a lot of interest in our players,” Clarke said in the Express and Star. “Everyone is a selling club in the market we’re in, so we will see how things develop.”

Without elaborating on any of the aspects of the move he was unhappy with, Clarke continued: “I’m very angry and disappointed with the way Hearts have conducted themselves. I’ve left that to the powers that be at the football club, but I’m not a happy man at all. Especially when teams tell lies and it gets out in the public domain.

“That frustrates me but it’s been dealt with by Stefan Gamble, who is a great CEO.

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“As a football club we do things the right way and it’s disappointing when other clubs don’t act in the manner we expect them to act.

“The main point for me is that Elijah Adebayo is focused on his football. He’s a great lad and has improved immensely.”

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Asked if he thought the in-demand forward would stay in the West Midlands, Clarke added: “For me, definitely. I 100 per cent want to keep hold of Eli because he’s getting better and better, but he still has loads of areas of improvement,” but he conceded ‘like any other player, everyone has a price”.

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