£2.5m Bednar deal goes through for Hearts

THE £2.5 million transfer of Roman Bednar from Hearts to West Bromwich Albion was finalised today, leaving Vladimir Romanov with a clear £2m profit on the Czech striker.

The Evening News can reveal that the Midlands club have invoked their option to sign the player permanently, which required to be done before midnight tomorrow as per the terms of his loan agreement.

Romanov paid 500,000 three years ago to prise Bednar from the Czech club Mlada Boleslav and, following West Brom's promotion to the English Premier League, will now collect five times that amount in total. The Czech international has agreed terms on a permanent three-year contract with Tony Mowbray's side.

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Bednar was purchased by FBK Kaunas, the Lithuanian club financed by Romanov, for 500,000 from Mlada Boleslav in July 2005. He was instantly loaned to Hearts before joining the Edinburgh side permanently in August 2006. He spent last season on loan at West Brom, scoring 13 league goals and 17 in total during their successful quest for promotion under Mowbray.

Meanwhile, Latvian-based Englishman Paul Ashworth is the latest coach to associate himself with Hearts' managerial vacancy. Currently in charge of Skonto Riga, 38-year-old Ashworth is interested in the position and believes his knowledge of the Russian language would impress Romanov. However he stressed there has been no contact from Tynecastle.

"Hearts are a fantastic club and I would be extremely interested in the job," said the former Norwich City player. "I've now worked between Russia and Latvia for the past eight years and perhaps the fact I speak Russian might interest Mr Romanov.

"I have not received any official approach from Hearts but it's something I would certainly have to consider, although I'm enjoying my time in Riga. I have a contract at Skonto but if Hearts wanted to speak with me I'd certainly listen."

• HEARTS season ticket renewals close at 5pm today. Thereafter, unsold seats will be released for a general sale of season tickets, which commences on Tuesday at 9am.

• HEARTS are seeking a new community coach to develop grassroots programmes in conjunction with the club's Education and Community Trust.

Candidates are required to hold the SFA children's licence and have experience of working with children and young adults in a sporting environment.

To apply for the role, submit a CV and covering letter to [email protected] Closing date is Friday, June 18.