While Ian Cathro stressed nothing has changed regarding the future of Hearts winger Jamie Walker, striker Esmael Goncalves admitted the 24-year-old would be irreplaceable if he joined Rangers.
The Ibrox club had bids of up to £600,000 for Walker rejected by Hearts in June and have yet to return with another offer. Cathro, the Edinburgh club’s head coach, is irked by constant speculation regarding his player.
Goncalves said finding a replacement for Walker would be virtually impossible should he move to Glasgow. “I hope Jamie stays because he is a big player for us. It is important he stays because I don’t think we will find another player like him if he leaves,” said the Portuguese.
“If he stays, I think we can do good things. If he has to leave, we will do the job. Myself and Kyle and Cole will do our best.
“Of course, it will take a lot of money to bring in a replacement for Jamie. We have been talking about this and hearing things. If he leaves at the end of next month it will be impossible to find another player like him.
“So, it would be good if the club fixes this situation with Jamie, so we can go forward. It would be a big boost for the club and the fans if he stayed. The fans love him, he has been here since he was young.”
Walker rejected a contract offer to make him Hearts’ highest paid player earlier this year. His existing deal expires next summer. “I can say there is no situation that warrants this being what headlines are for the next couple of days,” said Cathro.
“Naturally, he’s on a contract till the end of the season. We would love to have him here for a longer period of time. He’s a player who is at a level which should be rewarded as well.
“Those things are in play but I wouldn’t go any further than that. If you go further than that it wouldn’t really be reality.
It’s quite calm. Nothing has changed. Has there been any communication that would infer Rangers will come in again? No.
“There’s a period of time to go. Maybe another club might want him. I think everyone has forgotten that’s a possibility. Clubs want a good player and Jamie is a good player. You can’t sit and pretend there might not be interest between now and the closing of the window.
“But for us to be constantly playing this game when there’s no need for it is just boring.”