Talks have edged forward as Hearts try to bring the Scotland international striker to Tynecastle Park. Much depends on agreeing a fee but Beerschot are not keen to reduce their demands.
Hearts had been quoted a £500,000 transfer fee for Shankland, who moved to Belgium from Dundee United in a £1m deal last August. Beerschot would potentially be willing to accept a lower initial payment with the remainder made up in performance-related add-ons.
That has helped talks move in a positive direction and the Evening News has learned that all parties are now considering if and how they might tie up Shankland’s future.
Shankland, 26, is well known to the Hearts management team of Robbie Neilson, Lee McCulloch and Gordon Forrest having played under them at Tannadice.
Neilson signed him on freedom of contract from Ayr United in summer 2019, and the forward scored 28 goals in 33 games on Tayside during the 2019/20 campaign.
Neilson returned to Hearts in 2020 but Shankland is interested in working with him and his coaching staff once again.
Beerschot endured a difficult season culminating in relegation from the Belgian top flight, with Shankland played out of position at times and scoring five goals.
He also dropped out of the Scotland squad prior to last summer's European Championship and did not make Steve Clarke's final 26-man cut for the tournament. The last of his four international caps came away against Slovakia in a Nations League tie in November 2020.
Hearts will endeavour to revitalise Shankland's club and international career if they can conclude a deal to bring him to Edinburgh.
They have already signed defenders Kye Rowles and Lewis Neilson – a former Tannadice colleague of Shankland – plus winger Alan Forrest.
The Tynecastle club also want to strengthen their midfield and attack, with Shankland one of their primary targets for the summer transfer window.
European and domestic commitments necessitate a larger first-team squad at Riccarton for next season. With that in mind, more signings are likely to follow.