The club are close to bringing Osman Sow back to Tynecastle. The Swedish striker is available from MK Dons and is poised to replace Kyle Lafferty following the Northern Irishman’s move to Rangers. A season-long loan has been proposed but Hearts will check on Sow’s physical condition before signing it off.
Levein is hunting another centre-back and a further loan for the Manchester United full-back Demetri Mitchell. The Hearts manager is keen to bring FK Teplice forward David Vanecek to Edinburgh this month after capturing him on a pre-contract. However, as the Evening News reported yesterday, Teplice want a replacement signed before they release him.
Receiving a six-figure fee from Rangers for Lafferty gives Hearts room to do business, hence the move for Sow. The 28-year-old scored 23 goals in 52 games for the Edinburgh club between 2014 and 2016 before a £1 million transfer to the Chinese club Henan Jianye. He later played for Emirates FC before joining MK Dons 12 months ago.
Levein, speaking before news of interest in Sow emerged, admitted he could bring in up to three more players.
“Another two or three, I would think. Which I feel good about,” he said. “We’re fighting on a couple of fronts, financially. But Ann has been hugely supportive, which I think you can see from what we’ve done. Kyle going will allow us to do a little bit more as well. I had always planned to bring someone else in anyway. When we sat down a year ago, we did so on the understanding that if Kyle had a really good season we would sell him. We put David Vanacek on a contract as soon as the transfer window opened. I am at the point with his club where this has dragged on all summer and basically we either do something in the next couple of days or we will do something else. I’ve got a got a couple of options, short or long-term, and we’ll do something in the next couple of days.”
Levein revealed Lafferty made it abundantly clear that he wanted to join Rangers after Hearts rejected bids for the Northern Irishman. “It dragged on a bit but there were two things that were important in this situation,” said Levein. “One was the player’s desire to go and play with Rangers, and the second was us getting good value out of the deal. I feel we got to that point. He told me 123 times he wanted to play for Rangers! He just said he wanted to go. It doesn’t always mean that happens. If we get good value out of the deal it’s better than someone sitting in the building who feels they had an opportunity to go back to the club he loved as a boy and all the rest of it, which can sometimes cause difficulties.
“The important thing for me is I think we got a good deal – and they have strengthened their team when they play Celtic! I felt it was the right thing to do to let him go at that point. It was a normal negotiating process.”
Lafferty had an agreement with Hearts when he arrived on a two-year contract last summer. “The whole thing is really complicated,” explained Levein. “In everyone’s eyes, when Kyle arrived here he came with the intention of being here for a season and then moving on for a transfer fee. That was the agreement we had at the beginning, there wasn’t any number quoted. The agreement was he would get his career back on track through that first year and then we would do our best to try and help him move on. And, in effect, help him with his financial situation as well.”