Hearts manager Craig Levein reveals plans for key signings in the summer

Hearts manager Craig Levein wants to get ahead of the game
Hearts manager Craig Levein wants to get ahead of the game
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Hearts will target two or three key signings this summer if Craig Levein can keep the spine of his team together.

Keen to stop major squad overhauls each year, Levein is focused on retaining a group he feels can serve the club for seasons to come.

Christophe Berra, Michael Smith, John Souttar, Uche Ikpeazu and Clevid Dikamona have recently extended their contracts. Talks are ongoing with Peter Haring, while Hearts refuse to give up hope of signing on-loan Norwich forward Steven Naismith permanently and persuading Arnaud Djoum to stay in Edinburgh.

Livingston captain Craig Halkett is poised to sign a pre-contract agreement in June. Manager Levein explained that, provided his plans fall into place, he intends to recruit just two or three new faces in specific areas for next season.

That follows 18 signings last summer and huge squad turnover during Ian Cathro’s managerial tenure in 2017.

“I’m trying to get everything in place for next season as early as possible. We’ve made quite a few signings of important players like Christophe, John, Michael Smith, Uche and now Clevid,” explained Levein. “We are still trying with Naisy, Peter Haring and Arnaud Djoum. If I can do that then it means in the summer we’ll probably only have to sign two or three players.

“They would be key players, of course, but it makes me feel quite good that we’re not going to make ten changes, which we seem to have done in most windows up to now. It makes my life easier in the summer.

“I’ve been chopping and changing trying to find the pillars of the team. Now I’ve got players who I think, for a period of time, could be the mainstays. That would allow us to introduce young players or bring in two or three in the summer who can add more flair.

“The stability will help us enormously. I’ve been trying to get that for a year and a bit now and this will be the first window where I feel that we’re good. We’ve got reliable good players for this league who are also capable of improving. That makes me feel good.”