Hearts to give Daniel Stendel funds for January signings - but he must ship players out

Owner Ann Budge does not want first-team squad getting any bigger

Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 6:05 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 7:37 am
Ann Budge welcomes new Hearts manager Daniel Stendel to Tynecastle Park

New Hearts manager Daniel Stendel will be given cash to strengthen the squad in January, but he must ship players out of Tynecastle if he decides to use it.

Club owner Ann Budge is prepared to back Stendel during the forthcoming winter transfer window if the German wants specific signings for his dynamic gameplan. In that case, Stendel must also identify those surplus to requirements to reduce the size of the squad.

Hearts are carrying a first-team pool of more than 30 after 18 signings in summer 2018 and another eight this year. Budge wants it trimmed if she is asked for finances to sign anyone else.

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“I’ve never failed to find the funds up until now. But, that said, we’ve never had such a big squad,” said the Tynecastle chairwoman.

“I’ve had this conversation with Daniel. If he comes to me in January and says ‘I really must have whatever’, as long as he has told me ‘we really don’t need these people’ then we’ll be okay. But I’m not just adding to the squad we’ve got.

“It’s got to be a case of who is going to work and who isn’t going to work under the new style of play.

“I need somebody to be focused on these, it’s not exactly backroom activities, but let’s call them that. If Daniel was to come to me tomorrow and say ‘players x, y and z will never work in my style of play’ then we will be saying ‘fine, how do we help move these players on’? What’s the point in them being here and sitting on the bench if we know they’re not going to be right?”

Former manager Craig Levein oversaw the recruitment drive in the last two summers and Budge admitted signing so many was a mistake. “Yes. We were ultra-cautious in the summer. In the previous season we had had an unprecedented number of injuries and we didn’t have a strong enough squad to back that up.

“So, we were overly-cautious and we’ve got injuries again. Maybe instead of just getting one person we’ll get two and it kind of just escalated.”

Budge defended the decision to let Levein, who is still working at Riccarton despite being sacked as manager and director of football, show Stendel round the training base.

"I don’t think that was strange. When Daniel came over to be interviewed, it was on the day of the Kilmarnock game. So we did the interview on the morning and then the rest of us were all heading to Kilmarnock. So I said to Craig, ‘Craig, can you please show Daniel around Riccarton?’

"I couldn’t think of anyone better to do it than Craig. Even if I wasn’t going to Kilmarnock, I don’t know the ins and outs of Riccarton. I couldn’t have shown him round all the facilities. So I thought it was the obvious thing to do."