Steven Naismith has said that it is “inevitable” that he will sign a permanent deal with Hearts when he becomes a free agent in the summer.
The Norwich City forward is in his second loan spell at Tynecastle, and has scored 14 goals in 27 games this season despite being sidelined by injury for much of the campaign.
He has talked previously about the possibility of playing abroad but, speaking at the Gorgie club’s player of the year awards, where he was voted fans’ and players’ player of the year, Naismith said: “Nothing is signed yet – but it is inevitable I will stay.”
Naismith, 32, was the catalyst for Hearts’ dynamic start to the season when they led the league and reached the Betfred Cup semi-finals. But he injured his knee in the last-four tie against Celtic and missed nearly two months. He sustained another knee injury in the league match against Celtic on 27 February and Hearts’ form dipped.
Craig Levein, the Tynecastle side’s manager, has played down the player’s chances of being fit for the Scottish Cup final against Celtic at Hampden on 25 May but will be heartened by Naismith’s decision to stay. Levein has already tied up midfielder Peter Haring and striker Uche Ikpeazu on new deals until summer 2022.