Hearts to sign a number of players in key areas - but 'they won't all be Pelé'
Sporting director Joe Savage and manager Robbie Neilson are working in tandem to rebuild their squad after winning the Championship title.
An extensive recruitment drive is already underway at Riccarton as Hearts seek at least one new centre-back, plus creative midfielders and attackers for the top flight.
To balance that out, a number of players will leave the club in the coming weeks. The departures of defender Christophe Berra and midfielder Harry Cochrane have already been confirmed.
Neilson spoke to the Evening News to explain how the summer will pan out. “I don’t want to put an exact figure on it but we do know that, like any team coming up from a league below, we have to strengthen,” he said.
“There are key areas that need improved and we know what they are. We have targets we are trying to get in. Joe Savage has come in and from day one he has been brilliant. He knows the market down in England, has a lot of good contacts and deals well with agents.
“We are going to bring players in. They won’t all be Pelé because when you bring players in there’s that success rate. You bring some good ones in and there will also be ones who don't quite do it for you. The key is to try and build the club and go forward.”
Hearts covet long-term signings who can become established players in their first team rather than bring in a raft of loanees as stop-gap measures. Ross Stewart, Josh Ginnelly, Gervane Kastaneer and Shay Logan are all currently on loan at Tynecastle Park.
Neilson knows that identifying players of sufficient quality is vital rather than taking a speculate-to-accumulate approach.
“We don’t want to get to the position we’ve been in previously where we’re brining in ten, 12 or 14 players during a transfer window. We want stability,” he said. “We want players who are here for the longer term, who we can then build around.”