Two options as Hearts chase Callum Paterson - CEO Andrew McKinlay says Scottish clubs get exploited

Hearts’ pursuit of Callum Paterson will hinge on Sheffield Wednesday’s desire to keep the player during the January transfer window.
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Tynecastle officials are interested in a loan or a permanent deal to bring the versatile 28-year-old back to his formative club next month. Paterson is out of contract next summer and could then return north for free. However, Hearts’ preference is to agree a deal during the winter window.

“He is someone we are definitely interested in,” said Andrew McKinlay, the Edinburgh club’s chief executive. “We would like to maybe do something there but there is nothing concrete to say. He is under contract to Sheffield Wednesday and it might be that they decide to keep him until the end of the season, when he'd be a free agent. He's certainly someone I think would excite the fans who saw him last time he was here. He's got a good record here.”

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Asked if it would likely be a loan or a permanent move, McKinlay replied: “It would depend and probably be determined by Sheffield Wednesday and what they are prepared to do.”

Hearts are expecting interest in defender Kye Rowles following his impressive World Cup performances for Australia. With Tynecastle colleagues Nathaniel Atkinson and Cammy Devlin also part of the Socceroos squad, Hearts earned around £500,000 in total through FIFA’s World Cup compensation package for clubs.

McKinlay insisted it would take a “mind-boggling” offer for Hearts to even consider selling Rowles. “At the moment it’s just conjecture based on how Kye did at the World Cup. He’s played all four games, he played very well and got to the last 16. Therefore, you think he would attract attention but we’ve had no approaches and we don’t welcome any approaches for any of our players.

“We budgeted for no player sales this year. We are genuinely not in a situation where we have to sell anyone. Anyone who does leave this club would have to be on our terms. Any decision we ever make on someone leaving would balance the on-field with the financial.”

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Asked how much Rowles might be worth, McKinlay remained coy. “I don’t want to put a number on it because that’s the bid that will come in, but he’s worth a lot of money in my opinion.

Hearts are interested in bringing Callum Paterson back to Tynecastle from Sheffield Wednesday.Hearts are interested in bringing Callum Paterson back to Tynecastle from Sheffield Wednesday.
Hearts are interested in bringing Callum Paterson back to Tynecastle from Sheffield Wednesday.

“We do get asked with some of the deals we do if we will put buyout clauses in. Some of the numbers that people say – I genuinely still think Scottish football gets the mickey taken out us by England in particular. Five million quid for them is like a punt. We should turn round and say: ‘No, no, no. These are tiny.’

“I couldn’t put a number on it [for Rowles]. I am not encouraging it at all but it would be a mind-boggling offer that would even make us think it was something we would consider. I’m not even sure he has played ten games for us. He was injured. What a great signing, he has been brilliant.

“We paid money for all three Australian boys, not big money, but I would much rather Kye stayed here, made himself a Hearts legend and then we sell him on and make Hearts money. Joe Savage [sporting director] was saying earlier Cammy has now paid for himself because of the money we will get from the World Cup.”