The 22-year-old playmaker is out of contract but the Tynecastle side are due a development fee. They could justifiably demand a substantial six-figure sum for Holt under compensation regulations, but Neilson acknowledges that he is reluctant to see the player left “in limbo” ahead of the new season.
He is in a similar situation to St Mirren youngster John McGinn, who could cost potential suitors around £250,000 and Gavin Reilly, who arrived at Hearts from Queen of the South last week after the clubs came to a settlement.
Rangers have been credited with an interest in Holt, who scored five goals in 17 outings during a loan spell at Sheffield United, and Neilson says Hearts are ready to be realistic about their valuation.
“I don’t envision him having any trouble getting another club but it’s up to us to negotiate for a development fee. That is part of football,” said Neilson. “Jason was here since he was a kid – more than ten years – so it is important the club sees the benefits from developing a player.
“We won’t demand silly money for him, we know what the financial situation is in football and we’ll take it from there. We don’t want to leave the boy in limbo but we need to protect the development fee.”
A return to Tynecastle does not appear to be on the cards for Holt, who made 70 appearances for the club.
“He has decided he doesn’t want to be here so we’ll move on,” added Neilson.
Hearts play their first pre-season game tomorrow, against Irish side Bohemian in Dublin.