Rossi and Ozturk set for Hearts contract talks in new year

Hearts will wait until January to discuss contract extensions with centre-backs Igor Rossi and Alim Ozturk.

Friday, 18th November 2016, 5:30 am
Updated Friday, 18th November 2016, 12:03 pm
Igor Rossi, pictured, and Alim Ozturk, below, are out of contract this summer

Both players have agreements expiring next summer but formal talks will not take place until after New Year.

Head coach Robbie Neilson will assess his squad and speak to both players about their future plans before deciding whether new contracts will be offered. Rossi has been an ever-present domestically for Hearts this season, but Ozturk has fallen out of favour.

The Turk has managed only one league start and four appearances in total after dropping out of the starting line-up in August. He was also deposed as captain in September, with Perry Kitchen taking the armband.

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24/09/16 LADBROKES PREMIERSHIP HEARTS v ROSS COUNTY (0-0) TYNECASTLE - EDINBURGH Alim Ozturk in action for Hearts

The futures of Rossi and Ozturk are on Hearts’ agenda but are unlikely to be dealt with until the Ladbrokes Premiership begins its winter shutdown. It’s something we’ll look at and discuss nearer the time. We can get to the January window and then we’ll take a look and see where we are,” Neilson told the Evening News. “I think they are key players. That’s something I need to discuss with them – their plans and our plans. It’s important that they keep progressing and they want to keep playing.

“Igor has been one of our main players this year. Alim started the season in the team and then dropped out. He’s played a couple of games since then and it’s up to him to fight to get back into the side again. We want to keep a nucleus of players here that we can build a team around. I don’t want to be changing eight and ten players every season. It’s important we get consistency so we want to keep a hold of these guys.”

Ozturk is expected to deputise for Rossi in central defence on Monday when Hearts visit Hamilton on league business. The Brazilian must serve a one-match suspension after accumulating six league bookings.

24/09/16 LADBROKES PREMIERSHIP HEARTS v ROSS COUNTY (0-0) TYNECASTLE - EDINBURGH Alim Ozturk in action for Hearts