Hearts boss gives Vanecek update and explains why he let Crawford go

Craig Levein
Craig Levein
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Hearts manager Craig Levein confirmed today that he will sign Czech striker David Vanecek – but he just doesn’t know when. He also revealed that he would have signed trialist midfielder Ali Crawford immediately had Steven Naismith not returned to Tynecastle Park on loan.

Vanecek is contracted to FK Teplice until December 31 but Hearts have submitted a five-figure transfer bid to bring him to Scotland this summer. If Teplice don’t accept, he will sign a pre-contract and move in January.

“That is still something I’m still working on. We’ll get him at some point, it’s just when. He’s contracted to his club until December,” said Levein.

Crawford’s trial with Hearts has ended after Naismith returned in a season-long loan from Norwich City last week. The former Hamilton Academical midfielder played against Arbroath in last week’s friendly but has now left Riccarton.

“I didn’t know if I was going to get Steven Naismith back. I brought Ali in primarily for that reason,” stated Levein. “If Naismith hadn’t come back, I would have taken Ali. The fact we got a deal done with Norwich meant Ali would move on.

“Because it was another midfielder who likes to go forward, I didn’t want another body if it wasn’t somebody who was going to be involved. That was a clear thing.

“Ali did well while he was with us. He did well in training and he did well in the game up at Arbroath. It’s no disrespect to Ali, I just think Steven is a better bet for us at this moment in time.”