Robbie Neilson eyeing Hearts arrivals as he speaks on Elliott Frear situation

Elliott Frear spent two-and-a-half years at Motherwell.Elliott Frear spent two-and-a-half years at Motherwell.
Elliott Frear spent two-and-a-half years at Motherwell.
Hearts boss is ready to make the squad his own

Hearts boss Robbie Neilson is poised to capitalise on an increase in transfer activity should English League One and League Two clubs back proposals for a salary cap at meetings today and tomorrow.

However, the club is well on its way to completing the signing of former Motherwell winger Elliott Frear, who is already training with the Gorgie outfit.

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The departures of Bobby Burns, Sean Clare and Conor Washington will free up finances for the new head coach to recruit his own men and, with targets in minds, he is waiting to see what impact the EFL votes to limit spending in the third and fourth tiers of English football will have in his search.

Still early in the transfer window, he believes the ruling could be what it takes to stimulate a transfer merry-go-round and he would welcome anything that allows him to bring in players sooner rather than later.

“If it does go through then I think you might see a wee flurry of signings everywhere. If it doesn’t go through then I think it will take longer for things to move down there. That means things are a bit up in the air at the moment,” Neilson told the Evening News.

“We will see how the next week goes and I would like to get a couple in.”

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Determined to strengthen in certain areas, he is also keen to heighten competition for places and reinvigorate a squad that struggled at the wrong end of the Premiership last term, before being demoted when the season was curtailed.

Frear ticks many of the boxes, providing pace, width and set-piece service. He also knows the Scottish game.

“He is one that we would like to bring in but we will see how things go in the next week or two,” admitted Neilson. “I know him very well so we have brought him in for training and we are in discussions.”

The 29-year-old winger joined the Steelmen in 2017 and spent two-and-a-half years playing in the Scottish Premiership, scoring three goals and weighing in with several assists in his 60 appearances. Having turned down a new contract with the Fir Park side, he signed a short-term contract for League Two side Forest Green Rovers last season but is now looking for a fresh challenge.

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“He has done very well. He did very well at Motherwell and when he was down at Forest Green he was doing well until the season was curtailed,” said his would-be manager. “He is a good player and he can be of value to us. He has a great delivery and we will see how that goes.

“We need some sort of freshness to the team but I do think we have some very good players who just had a difficult time last year due to circumstances. They have more to show than they did last year.”

The idea is to augment those abilities with reinforcements as Neilson seeks a more balanced side, mentally and physically robust enough to cope with the favourites tag bestowed on them ahead of the Championship campaign and the pressure from their own fans to bounce back to the top flight at the first attempt.

Freeing up finance will be vital, though, as the club looks to move on players who may not be integral to Neilson’s gameplan yet command sizeable wages. They will also attempt to maximise their return on young Aaron Hickey, who has refused to extend his contract at Tynecastle and is now being chased by a series of notable suitors, all willing to spend big money for the promising teenager.

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Reports from Germany suggest that Bayern Munich are close to splashing out but it is understood that interest from Italy and England remains strong, as Bologna and Manchester City monitor the situation.