HEARTS will demand a minimum £500,000 before they consider selling Scotland Under-21 defender Jordan McGhee.
Ipswich Town have failed with two bids for the 19-year-old, the latest being £250,000, and Hearts want at least double that amount before they would begin negotiations. The Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy needs a new centre-back ahead of the English Championship campaign and believes McGhee has the potential to play south of the Border. McGhee, contracted at Tynecastle until 2017, has 44 competitive appearances and is valued considerably higher than the £250,000 offered so far. Ipswich are likely to return with a third offer, although they must increase their bid by double before Hearts will discuss letting the teenager leave. McGhee can play right-back or centre-back and is viewed as a youngster with huge potential at both club and international level.
He was heavily involved during Hearts’ pre-season campaign before dropping out of the starting line-up for Sunday’s Premiership opener against St Johnstone. He wants to play regularly to accelerate his development having made his senior debut for Hearts at the age of 16.
Robbie Neilson, the Edinburgh club’s head coach, has stated publicly that McGhee will be involved heavily at first-team level this season.
McCarthy is no stranger to plundering Tynecastle for a young defender. He paid £2.3 million for the then-Hearts captain Christophe Berra in 2009 whilst managing Wolverhampton Wanderers. He subsequently took Berra to Portman Road and is hopeful of a deal for McGhee before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.
Meanwhile, Hearts midfielder Miguel Pallardo will see a specialist in London today about his Achilles problem. The Spaniard has already been assessed in Glasgow and told that the injury will keep him out of action for another two weeks.
Hearts have sent him south to one of Britain’s best Achilles specialists for a second opinion – and to ensure the injury does not recur once he begins playing again.
• HEARTS’ League Cup second-round tie away at Forfar Athletic has been scheduled for Tuesday, August 25. The match at Station Park will kick off at 7.45pm. Ticket info will be released by the club in due course.