HEARTS will have a modest increase in their playing budget next season thanks to promotion to the Premiership, but they will certainly not be able to shell out big money on players, according to Robbie Neilson.
That applies, above all, to Dutch striker Genero Zeefuik, who is on loan until the end of the season from FC Groningen. The burly target man has been a big success since arriving in Edinburgh, but Neilson warned that the asking price of £300,000 quoted this week for a permanent deal was beyond Hearts’ reach.
“Genero is a player that we’d like to keep, but it has to come within our budget and we will not shell out hundreds of thousands on players,” Neilson said yesterday. “That’s just being prudent.
“Genero has had a great season, but we need to be realistic. We’re only a year on from administration and the doors nearly being shut, so we still have to live within our means. We want to make sure we do things right and not overspend on the budget, and use money that’s there if and when we need it.
“The ball is in Genero’s court and Groningen’s. He still has years left on his current deal with Groningen and they paid a lot of money for him and are looking for some kind of return.
“The figures being bandied about did not come from Groningen. We’ve been up front by saying that we’re not going to spend a lot of money on players.”
Defender Brad McKay will join St Johnstone in the summer and midfielder Scott Robinson will also leave the club, but Neilson will not have to raise money by selling others. “I don’t need to sell anybody,” he confirmed. “We will have more funds as the budget will go up with the TV revenue and sponsorship money. There’s no need to sell a player – but if offers come in that are right for the club and the player then they will move on.”
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