Hearts explain Ellis Simms situation as they hunt more new signings

Everton striker Ellis Simms is unlikely to return to Hearts this summer following Lawrence Shankland’s arrival.

Manager Robbie Neilson confirmed to the Evening News that a deal for Simms is outwith the Edinburgh club’s reach at the moment. They signed a new No.9 in Shankland earlier this week, handing him a three-year contract after agreeing a six-figure fee with Belgian club Beerschot.

Simms impressed on loan during the second half of last season, scoring seven goals in 20 appearances to help Hearts reach the Scottish Cup final and qualify for the Europa League play-off.

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Tynecastle officials made a strong push to bring him back in recent weeks as they prepare for the new campaign. However, his salary would smash the club’s current wage structure. English Championship clubs are interested in taking the 21-year-old on loan as Everton prepare to decide his immediate future.

Asked if Shankland’s arrival ends prospects of bringing Simms back to Gorgie, Neilson replied: “Yes, I would think so. It was always one that was probably going to be outwith our means anyway.

“We are pushing the club forward and the board have been outstanding backing us but there are levels we can’t get to. That’s probably one that we can’t.”

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Hearts are not ruling out loans for other targets, however. “We would prefer permanent deals but, if a good loan option came up, we would look at that as well,” said Neilson.

“The most important thing is getting the best players we can to go on that football pitch. We are looking everywhere.”

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Ellis Simms spent last season on loan at Hearts from Everton.
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