Tynecastle officials are concerned by delays as they try to sign the 25-year-old for next season. They are looking at the Wolverhampton Wanderers forward Connor Ronan as an alternative option and are ready to pursue a deal for the player, who is currently on loan at St Mirren.
The Evening News has learned that Forrest is still interested in joining Hearts as a free agent when his Livingston contract expires in a matter of weeks. However, the speed of the process has been slow and the Edinburgh club cannot afford to wait as they try to strengthen their squad.
Reinforcements are needed for dual commitments domestically and in Europe next season. Forrest held positive talks with Hearts last month and is seen as a player who would compete for a first-team place at Riccarton if he agrees terms.
The deal is not yet completely dead but the stalling leaves Hearts unsure of Forrest’s long-term intentions. They are now looking at Ronan as a possibility for next term. He is under contract at Wolves until 2024 and the English club want a sizeable six-figure transfer fee.
Hearts are also keen to bring in at least one new centre-back and another striker to compete with top goalscorer Liam Boyce. They are interested in a deal for Beerschot’s Scotland internationalist Lawrence Shankland, but the Belgian club want a transfer fee of £500,000 to sell at this stage.
New contracts have been offered to existing players Peter Haring and Connor Smith to keep them in Gorgie.