The summer transfer window will officially open on Friday and will stay open for 11 weeks. During that time Heart of Midlothian will have returned to pre-season, spent time in Tenerife, played Tottenham Hotspur, opened up their Scottish Premiership campaign and completed their much-anticipated Europa League play-off tie.

In the grand scheme of things, 11 weeks doesn't seem to be that long but as highlighted, plenty will happen and so much can happen and change.

Despite the expected departure of sporting director Joe Savage, transfer plans won't be impacted. Firstly, head of recruitment Will Lancefield remains a key part of the process while the club's preparations for strengthening the side started months ago.

READ MORE: Hearts summer transfers: Shankland speculation, possible interest, loan players

Coming off the back of a successful season, the squad doesn't need major surgery. In fact, Steven Naismith is in a very good place, especially with the hope that Barrie McKay, Craig Halkett and Liam Boyce can put an injury-ravaged campaign behind them with a full pre-season.

Any major bits of transfer business could be reactionary should key players attract interest and a bid that can't be turned down by the club. It should also be noted that Hearts are always looking to strengthen, even in positions they are well stocked in should the right player present himself.

So let's look at where Hearts can improve and predict what business could be done over the coming weeks and months, going from position to position.


Hearts currently have two Scotland international goalkeepers in Zander Clark and Craig Gordon on their books. They are up there as one of the best one-two in the country. As reported by Hearts Standard recently, Ryan Fulton is expected to join the club this summer following the expiry of his contract at Hamilton Academical. The former Scotland Under-21 internationalist will replace Michael McGovern and provide depth rather than have Harry Stone, who has joined Ayr United on loan, or Liam McFarlane not get the minutes they require.


Right-back is a priority position. Hearts are actively looking to add in this area. Neither Nathaniel Atkinson nor Dexter Lembikisa held the position down in the final stretch with Stephen Kingsley chosen at right-back in the final game of the season. With Atkinson and Toby Sibbick two players who could be moved on this summer, the club may look to sign two right-backs. One who is a starter and another who perhaps has potential or is a versatile defensive option.

On the other side, the big question is over the future of Alex Cochrane. The left-back has had interest during his time at the club and as recently as January and is in a situation where this is the final opportunity for the club to make money on him. When predicting if he will be at Tynecastle Park by the close of the window, you'd be leaning more on the side of no. That means, even with the arrival of James Penrice, Hearts could enter the market for another option. However, it wouldn't necessarily be a massive priority with Stephen Kingsley and Kye Rowles two very able left-backs - and there is also Ethan Drysdale, who has trained with the first team and is highly thought of.

Alex Cochrane is a player who could attract transfer interestAlex Cochrane is a player who could attract transfer interest (Image: SNS)

Centre-back is not a pressing area for the club. Frankie Kent, Craig Halkett, Stephen Kingsley, Kye Rowles and the returning Lewis Neilson provide a strong unit for Naismith to choose from whether in a back three or four. The only reason for any transfer business would be if it is decided Neilson is not ready for such a prominent role in the first-team or due to injury issues.


Beni Baningime, Macaulay Tait, Aidan Denholm, Cammy Devlin, Calem Nieuwenhof, Jorge Grant, Yan Dhanda, Blair Spittal, Finlay Pollock.

Nine central midfield options suggest it is an area of the team that doesn't need or won't get too much love in the transfer window. On the ball there is a good balance in terms of recycling possession, carrying it and creating chances. Yet, looking at the profile of the players there is an argument that the team require more physicality and dare we say height in the middle of the park, something Peter Haring provided during his time at the club.

Not necessarily a pressing need but one that may need to be looked at to provide even better balance and enhance the options Naismith already has. 


The headline transfer priority would be a striker if Lawrence Shankland leaves. The club will have a list of targets ready to move for should that occur between now and the end of August. Until then the key will be to add pace and quality to the attacking options.

Naismith currently has a good selection. As well as Shankland there is Liam Boyce, Kyosuke Tagawa and Kenneth Vargas who can play through the middle. Alan Forrest, Yutaro Oda and Barrie McKay provide different attributes in wider roles. The hope is that there will be more production from all those not named Shankland.

Lawrence Shankland will dominate the transfer headlines from a hearts perspectiveLawrence Shankland will dominate the transfer headlines from a hearts perspective (Image: SNS)

Vargas and Tagawa have had time to acclimatise with the latter showing his finishing quality at the end of the season and the former continuing to grow and grow. There should be more numbers to come from both Forrest and Oda for differing reasons. And then Boyce and McKay, it is hoped, will remain injury-free to contribute.

But Hearts still lack pace. The type of player that is about to be suggested may prompt readers and subscribers to spit out their coffee, send a distressed email, or reach for the unsubscribe button BUT... the squad could do with an Elie Youan-type player. Direct, rapid, powerful and provides a goal threat. Just without the infuriating qualities.


Hearts are in a very strong and enviable position going into the transfer window. Major work doesn't need to be carried out meaning there will be the desired continuity going into next season with no key players from this past season having left.

Of course, transfer outgoings could change the dynamic of the window but as things stand the team's priority is a right-back and a forward option who provides pace. Then there will be a tier below that for players, like a midfielder, who could provide better balance. And, as noted earlier in the article, there is always the hope a player the club like, no matter the position, becomes available and can immediately make the team better.

Should Hearts add a couple of those priority positions early on and move on players who are unlikely to feature in Naismith's plans, the club would be happy for the window to shut, right there, right then. That won't be the case and they, like the rest of the league, will be readying themselves for another 11 weeks of transfer window fun and games.