The clause which got Jorge Grant into Europe - and why the Hearts midfielder is still not entirely happy
Grateful for the experience, Grant is still not entirely satisfied. Becoming a bit-part player in recent weeks for the Edinburgh club is gnawing away at him. He wants to play more and influence matches with his creative attributes. Those attracted Hearts manager Robbie Neilson in the first place, prompting a series of summer negotiations with Peterborough.
A release clause in Grant’s contract stated he could only leave for £750,000 after United were relegated from the Championship to the third tier. Director of football Barry Fry agreed to accept a significantly lower amount to let the player move to Scotland.
“The clause wasn't what was reported in the newspapers at the time. Money-wise [what Hearts paid] wasn't as much as the figure which was put out there but it did trigger my release,” explained Grant. “As soon as I heard about the interest from Hearts I was all for coming here, especially to get the chance to play on the European stage. I probably would never have had the opportunity to do that in England.
“I was really happy to come here but I've not played enough in the league for my liking. I need to do well in the European games when I have been getting the chance to try and get playing in the league games. That's what I am looking to do between now and the end of the season as I need to be playing football.”
Grant started against Istanbul Basaksehir in Turkey on Thursday in the final Europa Conference League group game. Whether he retains that spot against Motherwell on Sunday remains to be seen. “It's been massive for the club, the fans and the players to be playing in Europe. We are also all delighted for Craig Gordon for equalling the appearance record which is a massive achievement.
“It all just drives us on to make sure we get back here next season and experience it all again. It's important that we do well in the league. Now we put our entire focus on that so we get into Europe and be back at those big stadiums – but do far better than we've done this season.
“The focus is completely on Motherwell, recovery is so important. We've managed to pick up a few positive results in the last few weeks and that has changed things. We knew Thursday was always going to be tough but now it's on to Sunday and hopefully another three points. It's so important that we now know what our focus is. That's third place, 100 per cent. We have to get there.”
Having occupied a variety of midfield roles, people are curious about where Grant is best utilised. “It's strange because in the last few years I've played in every single position within the midfield. I've played in the number six, as an eight and as the ten. I think eight is my best position. It allows me to go box-to-box and effect things going forward in the opposition's half. It depends what the formation is and what the manager wants. If he wants to play me then that's down to me on the training pitch. It’s about showing him when I get the chance in games that I can fill these roles.”