Hearts manager Robbie Neilson expects a conclusion to the Aaron Hickey transfer saga within days as Tynecastle officials continue negotiating with the Italian club Bologna.
Their £1.3million offer for the teenager was submitted last week but Hearts want the total amount increased before they will agree to any sale.
Hickey would still need to agree personal terms and pass a medical to complete the transfer.
Celtic are due 30 per cent of any fee thanks to a sell-on clause they inserted in Hickey’s deal when he left Glasgow for Gorgie in 2018.
Celtic remain interested but prospects of Hickey joining Bayern Munich are effectively dead. Bologna have made the highest bid to date and offer more chance of first-team football than the Germans.
With a year remaining on his contract, Hickey is now expected to leave if the Italians can tweak their proposal to match Hearts’ expectations.
The Edinburgh club value him at a minimum £1.5m. “There was an offer came in which was knocked back and we’re waiting to hear again where it goes,” said Neilson.
“It’s been a long, drawn-out process and I think we are probably getting towards the end of it now. Until it’s done, he is still a Hearts player.
“From a personal perspective as the manager, I would like him to be here because I think he brings great quality but I think things will be moving in the next few days.
“I’ve had this conversation with him and I think it’s important he continues to play first-team football. That’s the reason he has progressed so quickly, because he’s got it here at such a young age.
“I would hate to see him go somewhere and drift into the under-20 or under-23 team. Ultimately, he will make the decision with his father and his agent. We will wish him all the best.
“He’s got a lot of experience. He has played in big games and looked very comfortable, hence there has been a lot of interest in him. We’ll see where it goes in the next two or three days.”
Neilson is keen to add more new signings to his squad and was due to hold talks with the Hearts owner Ann Budge.
“I actually have a meeting today with Ann to discuss the next movements forward in different areas,” he told Sky Sports. “You are always looking to add quality and I think there are still one or two areas we can improve.”
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