The January transfer window is complicated to navigate. Teams don’t want to lose their key players in the middle of the season, players are available on pre-contract agreements, and the short length of the window means that there is a lot of tactical waiting being done. This leads to a lot of transfers conducted towards the end of the window.

Heart of Midlothian are sitting nicely in third and are in a great position to tackle the second half of the league season.

Naturally, there have been ongoing discussions on fan forums and social media about areas of the pitch where the team could reinforce and improve, both in this window and looking ahead to the summer.

Sporting director Joe Savage and Co. have been quick to appease supporters in one of those areas, bringing in right-back Dexter Lembikisa on loan from Wolves until the end of the season. Scott Fraser is another who could be set to join the Tynecastle Park side on loan. This leaves a couple of positions with potential for improvement and the opportunity to get started on the search for a permanent right back in the summer.

I’ve chosen the positions of the pitch that I think Hearts could add to and highlighted two players in each of these positions that would potentially improve the squad.


Robert Polievka

The Slovakian forward has been in fine form the past five seasons, hitting double figures each year for Banska Bystrica. He’s played 127 times since returning to Banska in 2018, scoring 77 goals and bagging 56 assists in all competitions. His fine form in the past two seasons has led to him receiving his first call-up to the national team in March 2023 and has since played nine games for the Slovaks.

He's not just brilliant in front of goal though. Like Hearts' own No.9, he is heavily involved with his team's build-up with his creative playmaking and excellent hold-up play. He’s experienced at 27 years old, leads his club as the captain, and is very much Slovakia’s version of Lawrence Shankland. If Hearts were to lose their main man this transfer window, Polievka would be a fantastic option to instantly fill that hole. He’d fit perfectly into the team's style of play and there would be very little teething pains.

Dorny Romero

Preparing to lose your star striker is one thing, but I think I speak for every Hearts fan when I say I hope that doesn’t happen. So, who should be signed to act as a possible partner for Shankland going forward? Well, there are two profiles from recent times that I think would be the obvious ones to try and replicate. A Josh Ginelly-type, who’s fast, direct and has an eye for goal, or someone in the Ellis Simms mould who could be described in the same way, but when watched is obviously vastly different.

Step up, Dorny Romero. The Dominican Republic internationalist plies his trade in Bolivia for Always Ready, moving from fellow Bolivians Real Santa Cruz after producing 16 goals and four assists in 34 games in 2022. Since joining his new team he’s been a man possessed. He’s scored 29 goals and assisted five times in 46 games. At only 25 years of age, the 21-time capped international would have huge sell-on value if he was able to replicate this kind of form in Scotland.

He isn’t the most heavily involved striker in games, but his goal-scoring stats speak for themselves. He waits for his opportunities and pounces. He’s got electric pace, a powerful strike, spends most of his time as high up the pitch as possible, and when given half a chance he only has one thing on his mind: score. Hearts can find themselves in good positions but sometimes lack either selfishness or the confidence to find the back of the net. Romero is a bit of a mix of both players mentioned above, can score with both his feet and his head and from a range of locations on the pitch. He’d definitely be an interesting player to see play in Scotland.

Centre midfield

Antony Evans

The set-piece expert will be well-known to a couple of people at Tynecastle. He started his career with Everton where he played alongside Beni Baningime, and was involved with the Under-21s at a young age while Steven Naismith was still at Goodison Park in 2015.

Evans is a central midfielder for Bristol Rovers who likes to create high up the pitch, more of an attacking than a defensive midfielder. With eight goals and seven assists so far this season, his contribution from midfield is fantastic. Hearts have a very solid midfield when it comes to the first and second thirds of the pitch but can struggle to find that consistent creative spark in the final third. Jorge Grant has shown flashes of brilliance in this aspect but has started just six games in the league. With Liam Boyce and Barrie McKay both spending time on the treatment table and Alex Lowry having departed, adding a consistent attacking midfielder to the squad would be welcomed. Scott Fraser may well be that player but Evans could be a longer-term option.

Martin Remacle

The Belgian midfielder has a number of high-level clubs on his CV. He was in the youth system of both Standard Liege and Torino, with three first-team appearances for the former, and joined Korona Kielce in Poland from European regulars Cluj.

Remacle is a player who ranks well in several important passing metrics, likes to shoot, and has seven goals to show for it so far this season. What drew me to him was none of this though. Watching footage of him and his goals, I noticed that he does something that Hearts have missed in recent times. He likes to both arrive late in the box and pounce on mistakes in the final third and make them count, something the Gorgie faithful have been begging for since the departure of Paul Hartley. With goals against Legia Warszawa and Jagiellonia Bialystok this season, he’s shown he’s able to make it count against the top teams in the league, even if his side is struggling towards the bottom end of the table.


Imad Faraj

Excitement and creativity on the wings and in the final third would go a long way to helping the team make further strides in an attacking sense. The loss of McKay to injury was a hard hit to take, but the teams need to be less reliant on one player to create chances out of nothing.

Imad Faraj can do exactly that. Plying his trade in Cyprus, the exciting winger racked up six goals and seven assists last campaign and already has three goals and five assists this season. He’s not only managed to do this domestically but also on the European stage. He’s been part of a Larnaca side that has played 16 games in Europe over the past two seasons and scored this fantastic and crucial solo goal to even up the game against Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League qualifiers. He’s a player who would have the fans on the edge of their seat and would regularly provide in the final third with his touches of magic.

Lirim Kastrati

Fast. Direct. Exciting. Great shot. Goals. Successful in duels. These are all ways you could describe the Fehervar winger with the best goal-conversion rate for all wingers in the Hungarian League. But none of these things are what caught my eye when looking at the former Legia Warszawa and Dinamo Zagreb winger. There’s one thing that stood out above the rest: his crossing.

The Kosovo internationalist crosses the ball more than any other winger in the league and gets more crosses into the six-yard box than 78 per cent of other wingers. Usually, you’d expect someone who crosses the ball so regularly to probably have low accuracy, but he’s sitting in the 74th percentile for crossing accuracy. If I were Lawrence Shankland and was looking at these stats, I’d be buying an international sim card and getting on the phone to Hungary myself. Someone who is so regularly getting accurate crosses into the danger area could massively help the Scotland internationalist break his own goal-scoring records.


Although Hearts have just signed right back Dexter Lembikisa, he’s only on loan until the end of the season. Looking further ahead, these two players could be options for the summer. In my opinion, both would be affordable now, but if they continue in their great form, one or both may be too expensive for us come summer.

Matus Kmet’

The Slovakian has had a phenomenal year. Originally a winger, when new manager Ilija Stolica joined AS Trencin, he changed Kmet’ into a wing-back. This has led to a massive upturn in form, culminating in the 23-year-old's first call-ups to the national team. Although he has yet to make an appearance, Slovakian fans see him as the future of the right-back position for the nation.

With his past as a winger, Kmet’ is exciting when in attack. He can get past his man, contribute with goals and assists, and has a good crossing ability. He’s very solid in possession, as seen by the mass of green on his graph. In defence, he doesn’t look too impressive, but he is improving with each game. As primarily a wing-back, he would fit well into the team's shape. Hearts' exceptionally strong back three allows the full-backs to be more forward-thinking, and Kmet’ has the work-rate and fitness levels that allow him to get up and down the pitch.

Peter Kovacik

The other player vying for that right-back position in the Slovakian national team is Peter Kovacik. After getting promoted with Podbrezova in the 21/22 season, Peter was looking to improve further as a 21-year-old in his first top-flight season. Unfortunately, the 22/23 season was plagued with injury, and the wing-back didn’t manage as many games as he’d have liked.

Unfazed, he went away and spent the summer working hard, coming back bigger, faster, and stronger than before. An almost Callum Paterson-esque glow-up. This hard work paid off almost instantly, with the Slovakian scoring a hat-trick in the first game of the season. He’s since gone on to score another two goals and help his side with 10 assists so far this season. For a wing-back, his attacking stats are exceptional. Like his countryman Kmet’, he is definitely more of a wing-back than a solid Michael Smith-style full-back, but one that would fit well into our current style. With players like Kovacik and Kmet’, we’d rely less on our attacking players to contribute goals: something that can only be good for the side.