Hearts plan to extend Igor Rossi’s contract beyond next summer after the Brazilian’s impressive start to the season.
Talks have already taken place between Rossi and head coach Robbie Neilson aimed at keeping him at Tynecastle.
The 26-year-old stood out in central defence in recent weeks as Hearts climbed to second in the Ladbrokes Premiership. They have recorded clean sheets in four of the last five league matches with Rossi playing a commanding role at centre-back.
Having signed the player on a one-year deal from Portguese club Maritimo in July, Neilson now wants to ensure he keeps hold of him for the long-term. Talks are already under way with Rossi and striker Osman Sow, whose contract also expires at the end of the season. Hearts want Belgian midfielder Arnaud Djoum to extend his deal beyond January as well.
“Igor has been great so far. Every day in training and every time he plays, he’s been different class so I’m really happy with him. I think he’ll continue to get better as his English improves as well,” Neilson told the Evening News today.
“I’d like to try and keep him. I’ve spoken to him about it so it’s now a case of trying to get things sorted out. I don’t see it being to much of a problem. He’s enjoying it here and his wife is over from Brazil now after getting a visa. She’s in the country now and seems quite settled. We will try and get something sorted out with him and his contract.
“He’s a good guy and, although he’s Brazilian, he speaks Spanish as well. He’s able to converse with the Spanish players and with Blazej Augustyn. He’s managed to settle himself in and his English is getting a lot better too, so it’s all going well for him. All the players like him.”
Neilson acknowledged that Rossi is far more settled in central defence after playing a few matches at left-back for Hearts earlier in the campaign. “He’s definitely better at centre-back, we knew that when we got him. We also knew he could cover at left-back.
“It’s really difficult to get left-sided centre-halves with real quality. There are a lot of right-sided ones going about but to get one who can play left centre-back and left-back quite comfortably is pleasing.”
Meanwhile, Hearts midfielder Kenny Anderson is to stay at Tynecastle for the time being after training with Livingston last week. A loan move had been discussed but that has now fallen through.