Hearts to sign new forwards as players are scouted to fit next season's formations
Hearts intend to sign at least three new attacking players as part of their summer recruitment plan.
Two creative forwards and a central striker are among the priorities at Riccarton as sporting director Joe Savage and manager Robbie Neilson strengthen their squad.
Winger Alan Forrest arrived on freedom of contract from Livingston at the start of the month and Hearts want a minimum of another two attackers to join him.
Kye Rowles from Central Coast Mariners and Lewis Neilson from Dundee United will reinforce defensive areas but new forwards are integral to the plans for season 2022/23.
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Neilson intends to use similar formations to last season by switching between a 3-4-3 shape and a more conventional 4-2-3-1. A striker who can lead the forward line in both systems is high on the agenda.
“We are looking for a few in attacking areas,” the manager told the Evening News. “We are looking for a couple of quick forwards who can play the No.10 role or further forward and we're also looking for another striker. We need to focus on that department for next season so I would expect a few coming in to play in that area.
“Preferably, we want one that's an out-and-out No.9 and other guys who can flit between the No.9 position, the No.10 position and the wide areas. Versatility will be important. Similar to this year, we will play 3-4-3 and 4-2-3-1 so we will look at guys who can play in both systems for us.”
Hearts won’t restrict themselves by signing only players with British football experience and are perfectly happy to look abroad. Neilson is keen that his defence contains English speakers, though.
That would ensure communication and organisation become easier when integrating new players into a team which wants to challenge in the Scottish Premiership.
“For me, it's good to have British guys in defensive areas who know the defensive system here and can talk. That's important,” added the manager. “In attacking areas, we can be a bit more free to go and pick the best ones we can get. There is no real emphasis on needing to get British know-how in that department.”