Hearts have knocked back a second bid from Rangers for Jamie Walker which again fell well short of the £1 million price tag they have placed on the player.
Having opened with an offer of £500,000 for the 23-year-old, who came through the Hearts youth academy and has made over 160 first team appearances, the Ibrox club upped the ante with a £600,000 bid yesterday. That, too, was immediately rejected by the Tynecastle hierarchy.
It is expected that Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha will increase his offer for the player who has scored 39 goals for Hearts and weighed in with almost as many assists from his wide midfield role.
Should Rangers fail to meet the asking price, Walker, who has a year left on his Tynecastle contract, faces the possibility of playing in front of fans disillusioned by his apparent eagerness to turn down the chance to be the club’s top earner and move to Glasgow instead.
Team-mate Don Cowie said yesterday: “That’s where you just need to get on with it.
“We are paid to play football. I know Jamie loves football, loves playing football, loves watching football. So he just needs to get back playing and enjoying that again. I know he is still young in football terms and these are experiences he will learn from.
“He just needs to block all of this out and concentrate. He is a Hearts player and that’s all that matters right now. He needs to do the best for the club and, until such time that changes, there’s not an issue.”
It is not the first time Hearts have been willing to reject what they consider to be derisory offers and keep players while their contracts run down. Callum Paterson was in that situation and recently joined Cardiff City under freedom of contract.
Cowie added: “I don’t see why another season at Hearts can’t get him [Walker] in the Scotland squad.
“It can only be helped by the fact Christophe Berra is here and is an established part of the national side. Maybe more people will watch him.
“It is up to him to keep playing well, improving and adding consistency to his game. Who knows what could happen for him?”
Rangers, meanwhile, have sold striker Joe Garner from to Ipswich for a fee understood to be around £1m.
The 29-year-old scored 10 goals in 34 appearances for Rangers in the Ladbrokes Premiership after joining them from Preston in a £1.8m deal. After joining from Carlisle, he helped the Lilywhites to promotion to the Championship in 2014/15 and was named the League One Player of the Year.
He has signed a three-year deal with Ipswich, becoming their second signing following the arrival of Jordan Spence from Milton Keynes Dons.