More exits than arrivals as Hearts target free-agent summer market
Robbie Neilson predicted more exits than arrivals at Hearts this summer as the club look mainly at free-agent signings to strengthen their squad.
The manager feels his first-team pool still needs pruning despite confirmed departures of Christophe Berra, Harry Cochrane and Elliott Frear. Others like Zdenek Zlamal and Colin Doyle are likely to follow, with Gervane Kastaneer returning to Coventry City after his loan spell.
In tandem with sporting director Joe Savage, Neilson is working through a list of potential signing targets to fill some voids. He also hopes to develop some promising Riccarton academy graduates next term with Hearts back in the Scottish Premiership.
One of the main markets Neilson and Savage are focusing on is England. “We will look at every case differently but we are probably look at free agents and that kind of market. There will be a lot of them this year because of the way the market is down south,” Neilson told the Evening News.
“It's more about bringing in quality for me. We know the areas we need to strengthen and, if we can do that, we can then look at other areas depending on how the budget goes.
“There will be gaps to fill but I wanted to bring the squad size down anyway. The size of it when we first came in last summer was huge. I think we still need to do a wee bit of work on that side of it. I think there will be more going out than coming in. It's just about getting the quality up.”