Hearts have been told they must submit a formal transfer offer for FC Sion’s Joaquim Adao if they want him back next season.
The Swiss club plan to sell the midfielder to the highest bidder this summer, with several English League One teams declaring an interest.
Adao, 25, enjoyed an impressive loan spell in Edinburgh between January and May which caught the attention of other British clubs. Hearts hoped to secure his services for next season with another loan but Sion intend to cash in. The player will report to his parent club on June 30 to discuss his options, and so far there has been no offer from Tynecastle.
Sion sporting director Marco Degennaro told the Evening News in March that his club would be open to another loan or a permanent move for Adao. However, the level of interest in the player since then has led to a change in stance and they would now prefer an outright transfer.
Adao has two years remaining on his Sion contract but he is not in the long-term plans of head coach Maurizio Jacobacci. Degennaro believes the midfielder’s combative style in the holding role is best suited to British football and expects him to continue his career on these shores.
Whether that is in Edinburgh or elsewhere depends on Hearts officials restarting negotiations with Degennaro. So far, talks have been done largely through Adao’s representatives.
“At the moment, we don’t have negotiations for the future with Hearts,” explained Degennaro, speaking exclusively to the Evening News. “We have interest from some clubs in the UK – in League One – but there have not been too much negotiations with Hearts so far. We do not have a proposal from Hearts. I spoke with them in April about Joaquim.”
Degennaro confirmed Sion plan to sell the 25-year-old Angolan internationalist, who has been with the club since his teens.
“Yes, I think we would prefer to sell because I think it is the right moment. We believe he did a good job at Hearts and he has the talent for the CDM [central defensive midfield] role in your country. It would be the right moment to go over and try to find a definitive solution for him.”
Asked what the fee would be to sign Adao permanently, Degennaro replied: “I cannot tell you because I don’t have any idea at the moment. It would be better if there was a permanent deal instead of another loan.”
There is no immediate rush for Hearts, who do not return for pre-season training until June 21. None of the English clubs monitoring Adao have come forward with a formal offer, so there is still time for Tynecastle officials to make their move if they wish.
Adao played 12 times in maroon between January and May after arriving on a short-term loan. He quickly became popular with the Gorgie support as a dominant and authoritative player in the defensive midfielder role.
He has stated publicly on these pages that he would be happy to return to Hearts next season. First, he is contractually obliged to report to Sion at the end of the month for discussions on his future.
“We have not spoken with Joaquim yet. We have only spoken with some clubs at the moment because Joaquim will come back here at the end of the month,” said Degennaro.
“He is due here on June 30 and if we have an offer or some things to discuss, we will involve him. Without any real concrete offer, we will not talk to Joaquim about the future.
“There is nothing to tell at the moment. He played for Hearts, he will come back here on June 30. We don’t have to talk too much with him at the moment because we don’t have a real proposal.”
Adao’s wishes will be taken into consideration when Sion make their final decision. Britain is where they feel he will thrive most, provided at least one interested party produces a concrete offer.
“Of course we must think about what the player will want but also, if we have some concrete offers, then we can push the player in a different way,” said Degennaro.
“We can propose something to him instead of just saying: ‘Would you like to stay there?’ Then he says ‘yes’ but we don’t have a proposal from that club.
“I think we will have to wait a few more weeks to have something concrete.”