ALTHOUGH the domestic transfer window is now closed, John McGlynn fears that Hearts may still have to listen to offers from other countries – in particular for Marius Zaliukas.
Young Boys of Bern have been watching the Hearts captain, and have two weeks to bid before the Swiss window closes. Former international striker Stephane Chapuisat, their chief scout, has indicated they would be more interested in recruiting the centre-half when he becomes a free agent in the summer, but, even if they stick to that intention, there is also the Russian market to consider – one with which Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov has many contacts.
The financial position at Tynecastle has eased considerably since the club faced a winding-up order late last year, thanks in part to the fee received from China for Ryan McGowan. And more revenue is guaranteed from the League Cup now that Hearts have reached the final.
But, as he prepared to travel north yesterday for this afternoon’s re- arranged league match at Ross County, McGlynn warned that there were still difficulties to be faced, and accepted that the prospect of further cash from the transfer narket would have to be considered. “I am not the financial director and I don’t know the state of play as we speak, but I still think there’s an acceptance that we’re not totally out of the woods,” McGlynn said. “We still need fans to turn up at the games in big, big numbers. That would be the best way to back the football club.
“Of course, the cup final helps but it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re home and dry. I still think we’ve got a few testing months to come, so it’s very important that the fans realise that.
“We got great backing on Wednesday night and we need that to continue by the fans turning up in large numbers. Hopefully they’re enjoying what they’re seeing, because the younger lads are coming through and it’s players that they can relate to. They’re bound to like the style of football and the way the players are working extremely hard for each other as well.”
Hearts did remarkably well in the window given the SPL transfer restrictions under which they are operating. They lost McGowan, but signed Danny Wilson and Michael Ngoo on loan from Liverpool. The risk for McGlynn now, however, is that he could lose another player to a foreign league without the opportunity to replace him.
“It does make it very complicated and difficult. It would be beneficial if there was one [window] across the board and everyone was governed by that.
“You are stretched. When the window closes you think that’s it, great, then somebody else has got another two weeks. We could certainly do without it. Depending on your circumstances it may not really worry you but, in our situation, there is a player who has obviously attracted attention and that could mean that we lose him. That would be a bit of a blow.
“One window closes, another stays open. The lad [Chapuisat] has come out and said he’s got interest. We just need to wait and see.
“I’m not going to be losing any sleep over it. We just need to get organised and get ready for Ross County then prepare for Dundee United after it.”
Although that concern remains, McGlynn has been delighted by his two new recruits, and Hearts have succeeded in preventing the large-scale exodus of first-team players that had been predicted by some. “Danny and Michael have been good additions. I think everyone can see that immediately and recognise that they’re good players,” McGlynn continued.
“So we’ve brought in quality, which was key to what we’re trying to do. I’ve said we weren’t going to bring in people who would stifle the younger lads coming through – they needed to be better.
“And I think that’s what’s happened. We have brought in two really good players, and the last couple of performances have been encouraging.
“I’m happy to have the squad that we have now. It gives a real chance, based on recent form, that we can start to climb the table.
“We take nothing for granted, because the younger lads have done exceptionally well but we all realise there can be inconsistencies. I’ve got to be very happy with the squad that we have now, bearing in mind that we could have lost more. Players’ contracts are running out at the end of the season and they could have gone at this time for very little money. And of course players can sign pre-contracts.”
Jamie Hamill hopes to be back training on Monday after a long-term injury, and Hearts have no new worries following Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Dundee. Scott Robinson, sent off in last week’s semi-final win over Inverness, serves the second half of his two-match suspension today.