Hearts plan for summer signings and players leaving
At the same time, a number of players whose contracts expire in May will be leaving Tynecastle Park. Currently, Christophe Berra, Aidy White, Elliott Frear, Harry Cochrane, Zdenek Zlamal and Colin Doyle have only weeks left on their deals.
Andy Irving is also just weeks away from being a free agent but has been offered a new contract, which is yet to be accepted. On-loan Preston North End winger Josh Ginnelly has also held discussions about a permanent move to Edinburgh.
Hearts intend to sign at least one centre-back this summer, but Neilson told the Evening News that they want to strengthen in every department.
“There are a number of positions where we're looking to recruit and that [centre-back] is an area where we're trying to get somebody,” he said.
"We have a lot of players that are moving out in the summer, so there are a lot of areas we need to strengthen in. We're looking to improve in all areas right the way through the team.
“I don't want to put a number on it but there will be changes. The summer is going to be similar to January in that there will still be uncertainty about crowds coming back in and uncertainty about budgets for everyone. For us it's just making sure that, when we start the season, we've improved the squad.”
Budge has told Neilson and Savage that finances are in place for a recruitment programme despite reduced income due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
“We've already had those conversations and we know where we are with things,” added Neilson. “We're all in agreement that we need to strengthen the team and that's what we will go and do.
“The fan issue is in the background but you have to start planning these things as early as you can and that's what we've done.”