Craig Levein looks to Ghislain Guessan to boost forward line
The Ivorian forward has been brought in on trial and will train with the squad until Tuesday as manager Craig Levein and his coaching staff mull over his qualities.
The player, who was born in France but has been capped at age-group level for Ivory Coast, started his career on the books at Nantes but moved to Algeria. He moved to Norway to play with Viking FK last season but left at the end of the year and is a free agent.
Signs are promising but after a solid recruitment drive in January, the Gorgie manager said he will only extend the 25-year-old’s stay if it will strengthen his squad.
If he was to sign, the player would be the fifth acquisition of 2018, following Deme Mitchell, Steven Naismith, Danny Amankwaa and Joaquim Adao in the door.
Happy with those additions, Mitchell was the man who grabbed the headlines at the weekend, turning in an eye-catching display and netting a delightful goal as the club progressed to the Scottish Cup quarter-finals.
Only 21, the way in which the Manchester United loanee has adapted to the game in Scotland has delighted Levein, who says the youngster’s level of performance since his debut in the Edinburgh derby has convinced him that he has the credentials to eventually make it as a regular in Jose Mourinho’s Old Trafford team.
“Expect? Hope? Those are two different things,” he said when asked if he had always expected him to shine at Hearts. “When you bring someone in on their first loan from a massive club in England, the risk is do they adapt as quickly as is needed?
“I don’t think I have ever had a loan player who has adapted as quickly as Deme. That’s a credit to him and Manchester United. Because you’re at a bigger club it doesn’t always mean you are able to go to a smaller club and play well. Those two things don’t always sit together. What I have found with him and Connor Randall [on loan from Liverpool] is they are a credit to their clubs with the type of players they are. They’re both no-nonsense, focused, professional and determined to do really well. I think sometimes you can have someone with great ability but their attitude is poor. ”
A Hearts player until the end of the current campaign, Mitchell will then return south, where Levein believes the adventurous and industrious full-back could have a bright career. “It’s up to him but I think he has the talent and the attitude. If he gets the breaks then I think he has it in him. In all seriousness, of all the loan deals I’ve ever done, he has been the most impressive. That is a bit of a statement but I think it is fairly accurate. He hasn’t had a poor match since he has been here.
“He has gone from playing academy football in England to experiencing loads of things he has never experienced before. The pitches are not the same standard, particularly ours, and he has been playing Tuesday, Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday, which is something else he has never done before. He has scored and looked like scoring on a number of occasions, he is very quick and he has endeared himself to the supporters and his team-mates.”
Delighted for Mitchell, the Hearts boss says he is gutted for another of his young full-backs, Jamie Brandon, who could be out for the remainder of the season after picking up a knee injury in an U-20s game.
“It looks like a fairly problematic knee injury. We’ll know more when he has a scan,” Levein added.