Robbie Neilson reveals Hearts are in negotiations with Liverpool to get Ben Woodburn released
The Welsh internationalist has agreed terms for a loan move to Edinburgh until January, but the Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp does not want to let him leave right now.
With injuries to some first-team players and more new signings yet to arrive, Klopp is concerned he may need 21-year-old Woodburn for forthcoming games against Burnley and Chelsea.
Hearts would like the deal completed as soon as possible and are talking to their counterparts on Merseyside in an effort to get paperwork finalised.
“We are still negotiating with them and trying to get something done,” explained manager Robbie Neilson. “He’s keen to come and we’re keen to get him, but he’s a Liverpool player at the moment, so we need to wait for them to make a decision.
“He’s a player we have been watching for a while now and we are trying to get in, but the deal is not done, so we just have to wait and see.”
Woodburn’s loan could be extended beyond January if all parties agree. “Joe [Savage, Hearts’ sporting director] will decide on that side of it in terms about who comes in and what the length of the deal is or anything, but it’s very early stages,” added Neilson.
“We have made contact, they’re happy to do it, it’s just a case of getting it done.”
Hearts have signed goalkeeper Ross Stewart, winger Josh Ginnelly and midfielder Beni Baningime permanently so far this summer. Left-back Alex Cochrane arrived on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion, whilst Australian midfielder Cameron Devlin is awaiting a work permit to join up at Tynecastle Park.
Neilson is not finished recruiting, though, as he explained ahead of Sunday’s cinch Premiership meeting with Aberdeen. “Speaking to the boys at the beginning of the season, we have an objective of where we want to get to, but the main objective is to win every week.
“We’ve managed to do it quite consistently this season, but this is another challenge against Aberdeen. They have a very big squad and a strong squad when you look at it. Look at the bench and it is full of good players. Us at the moment – the first 13 or 14 players, then we need to add.”
Hearts won their opening two fixtures against Celtic and St Mirren and are keen to maintain momentum in the league despite last weekend’s Premier Sports Cup loss at Parkhead. Aberdeen lost Thursday's Europa Conference League tie against Qarabag in Azerbaijan.
“Our focus right now is on Aberdeen and making sure we beat them,” said Neilson. “It’s a big game for us. You think Hibs, Rangers, Celtic and Aberdeen are the games you look for, especially the home games.
“Hopefully we’ll have a full house. It will be brilliant just getting the fans back in and the atmosphere. If we want to be where we want to be, we need to beat Celtic like we did at home, beat Aberdeen at home, plus Rangers and Hibs.
“The objective for us is top six and trying to get into Europe. Hearts should be consistently in there. It’s easier said than done. You have to prove it.”