Hearts have made it clear that they will not be forced into parting with Callum Paterson for a pittance.
Having rejected Wigan Athletic’s opening bid of around £600,000, they have now also rebuffed a second offer for the Scotland defender, with the Latics’ latest offer still falling well short of anything the Scottish Premiership club would deem acceptable.
With a week of the transfer window remaining, Hearts now expect Wigan’s interest to wane. It is understood that while the English club had upped their offer, it amounted to very little up front, with a raft of conditions and activation points meaning the capital club might never have been fully compensated.
Paterson has refused to sign a new deal to keep him at the capital club beyond the end of the current campaign, when his contract expires, but he remains a key player for manager Robbie Neilson and has played every minute of competitive action so far this season
Seeking at least £1million for the full-back, who has also been linked with a move to Newcastle United, despite no formal or informal approach, Hearts are willing to force the player to see out his contract if no-one matches their asking price.
A regular in the side which romped to the Championship and then finished third in the top flight last term, Paterson, who has made almost 150 appearances for the club since breaking through four years ago, was also called into Gordon Strachan’s Scotland squad for next weekend’s World Cup qualifier away to Malta, having won his first cap in the summer international against Italy.
If he stays, the 21-year-old could sign a pre-contract agreement in January but, due to compensation rules, any move would be subject to a compensation payment to Hearts which would amount to between £300,000 and £450,000 depending on who signs him. It is one reason why the club are in no rush to offload him without a worthwhile payout.