Craig Levein insists Hearts can use Jake Mulraney’s pace next season as he prepares to sign the Inverness winger as a “project”.
Terms have been agreed for the Dubliner’s move to Tynecastle in a swap deal which will take Hearts midfielder Angus Beith to the Highlands.
The move would negate the need for any development fee and Hearts manager Levein sees Mulraney as a low-risk signing. The 22-year-old is quick and direct and Hearts believe his speed could be an asset.
They hope he can develop into an even better player given time. The Inverness manager John Robertson wants Beith for next season but Mulraney is a player Levein regards as a work in progress.
“Nothing is signed yet but we’re in the process of agreeing a swap deal for Angus Beith to go up there and Jake to come here,” confirmed the manager after the Evening News revealed the story.
“Angus is a really good football player who had a really difficult time with injury. Some of our younger players have improved past him and he’s struggled to get game time.
“He’s had three hip operations so he needs to start playing. I couldn’t see him getting game time ahead of the players we have in midfield. Arnaud Djoum will be back next season, too, plus we’ll add players. This is a good opportunity for Angus to go and play with Robbo, who he knows.
“We’ve been looking for pace in the wide areas and we had Jake training with us for a week earlier in the season. He did well so it was quite a simple transaction. Two boys who aren’t playing every week – we want one Robbo’s got and he wants one we’ve got.
“It’s not a high-level transfer but I think he’s quite interesting. He’s got real pace, it’s about what we can do with it after that.
“We don’t have a proper winger. What I mean by that is somebody who is really fast and crosses the ball. We’ve got players who will come in on their other foot and link up with midfield, then run in behind from there. We don’t really have what I’d call a winger with real speed.
“Jake is a project. His career has not gone as it could have or we wouldn’t have him. I liked him when he came in to train so we’ll see what happens.”
Ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Aberdeen, Levein still has concerns over knee injuries to Marcus Godinho and David Milinkovic. Demetri Mitchell, on loan from Manchester United, is back in the squad after returning to Riccarton from his parent club after injury.
Milinkovic missed Hearts’ defeat by Rangers on Sunday and is still doubtful for Pittodrie. “I don’t know if he will be available,” said Levein. “He’ll train but he’s got a strain in his medial ligament that he had before the Hibs game last month – and he missed that one.
“He got a recurrence of it in training last week and I don’t know how bad it is. It’s difficult to work out if he’s fit or not. We’ll see.”