Hearts to discuss a move to sign Stephen Humphrys permanently from Wigan Athletic next year

Hearts will assess Stephen Humphrys' performances through the winter before deciding whether to approach Wigan Athletic about a permanent deal. He is on loan at Tynecastle Park until May 2023 and his contract in England runs until summer 2024.

The popular forward scored two goals in his last four Hearts games, including one against Fiorentina in a Europa Conference League tie in Italy, before succumbing to an ankle injury last month. He has played ten times in total for the Edinburgh club and impressed with a combination of pace, power and technique.

More of the same into next year would likely tempt Riccarton management to contact Wigan about signing him permanently – provided he is not recalled by his parent club in January. “It's the same with all the guys who are on loan or who are coming out of contract. Now isn't really the time to be discussing that. We will concentrate on the games and the January window and then see where we are come February or March,” said Robbie Neilson, the Hearts manager.

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“It's something we will probably deal with towards the end of the season. Stephen has done great for us and he's here until the summer. I think he still has some time left on his contract down at Wigan. We are concentrating on recruiting.”

Any move for Humphrys would need to be financially viable for Hearts, both in terms of wages and a transfer fee. Supporters have warmed to the player since he arrived in Edinburgh on a season-long loan in late August.

“He is different to a lot of players in Scotland,” explained Neilson. “He's got pace, power and aggression but also technically he is strong. I've been really pleased with him and I'm disappointed he's been missing for the last few weeks. He likes to get running into space and use his physicality, so the sooner he gets back fit the better.”

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Stephen Humphrys has impressed fans since arriving at Hearts on loan from Wigan Athletic.