Why Jamie Walker to St Johnstone is a no-brainer - the Hearts outcast can provide a missing x-factor

There has been an element of joy missing from both St Johnstone and Jamie Walker’s campaign so far.

Hearts' Jamie Walker is a transfer target for St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
Hearts' Jamie Walker is a transfer target for St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

For Saints fans, they must be thinking last season’s cup double has used up all of the elation and satisfaction. It’s almost like a period of suffering is required before football can be enjoyed once more.

On Saturday they dropped to the bottom of the cinch Premiership as they lost 1-0 to Aberdeen. Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat at Rangers made it ten out of 17 league matches where they have failed to score. Their goal tally stands at nine.

It gets worse. Their 2.4 shots on target per match is the worst in the league. As is the number of shots (127) and big chances created (six). They have recorded the third fewest touches in the opposition box and second fewest deep completions per 90.

Walker has yet to start a match for Hearts this season. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

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Defensively, only the top three have conceded fewer.

It is pretty straightforward. Start scoring goals, even at a rate of one per game, and they would start moving upwards.

The January transfer window is going to be a key one for Davidson and Saints. They have already added free agents Jacob Butterfield and Viv Solomon-Otabor, while interest in out-of-favour Hearts attacker Jamie Walker has been confirmed by Davidson.

The 28-year-old ticks a lot of the boxes required for St Johnstone, especially with key playmaker David Wotherspoon potentially out until next season.

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Since returning to Tynecastle Park for a second spell, Walker has been something of an enigma.

One of the most talented Hearts academy graduates in recent years, he hasn’t consistently hit the heights of his first stint in Gorgie which earned him a move to England. Since the 2019/20 campaign, he has started just 30 of 98 matches.

A mixture of injuries, competition and fitness concerns has led to such a figure.

This campaign he has been a peripheral figure bordering on outcast with just 120 minutes of action despite Hearts playing a formation which suits his qualities down to a tee.

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Having emerged as a winger, Walker, on his day, has the talent to be devastating as an inside forward, playing narrow of a wing or as a No.10.

Without the ball he may not be the most effective presser or someone who is going to hound the opposition. That is not what St Johnstone need.

They need someone who can come alive in the final third, produce something for nothing. Walker is that player. He possesses a threat from distance, has an eye for the pass, can combine and play in tight areas. But what he is very best at is finding space, picking up pockets in and around the opposition box.

An ideal fit in Davidson’s 3-4-3 or 3-4-1-2 system.

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He takes shots quickly, hits the ball hard and will be a constant goal threat even when he is on the periphery of the game. He made telling contributions off the bench last season as a second-half sub when games were stretched.

Across his last five full seasons in Scotland he has scored 46 goals, albeit two of those campaigns were spent in the second tier.

He may be not the goalscoring striker fans want, but he is the attacking X-factor they require.

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