Robbie Neilson insists there is no desire for Hearts to sell star right-back Callum Paterson in January unless they receive an offer that’s too good to refuse.
Paterson’s contract is up at the end of the campaign and looks certain to exit Tynecastle after four years in the first-team squad.
With their strikers struggling to find the net, Hearts have been relieved to see right-back Callum Paterson chipping in with goals.
The 21-year-old has pounced seven times already this term, including his recent last-gasp strikes against Hamilton and St Johnstone which twice rescued Hearts a draw.
A queue of English clubs are now expected to battle for the Scotland defender, but Neilson insists his club can afford to hold on to Paterson until his contract expires at the end of the campaign.
The Jambos will be due a compensation fee worth around £450,000 and Neilson, speaking before his side welcome Motherwell to Edinburgh on Saturday, said: “It’s not inevitable that Callum will go in January. We had an offer in the summer and we knocked it back.
“So it depends what level the offers come in at in January. We do not need to sell.
“If it goes to the end of the season when his contract is up, we’ll get compensation, so unless they put in more money than compensation is worth then there’s no point in selling.
“So the (£450,000 figure) is the starting point.
“I’m not going to put valuation on players but if you start getting a battle between two English teams you don’t know where the fee will go.”