Hearts have set a high price tag for their star striker Lawrence Shankland, who has been linked with a move to Rangers in the January transfer window. The Edinburgh club are reportedly asking for more than £4.5 million, which would break the Scottish transfer record between domestic clubs.
Shankland’s impressive form for Hearts and Scotland
Shankland has been in sensational form for Hearts this season, scoring 21 goals in 25 appearances in all competitions. He has also earned 12 caps for Scotland, netting four times, including a stunning strike against Denmark in the World Cup qualifiers. The 28-year-old has attracted interest from several clubs, including Rangers, who are looking to bolster their attacking options after losing Kemar Roofe and Fabio Silva.
Hearts’ stance on Shankland’s future
Hearts are determined to keep Shankland at the club and have offered him a new contract that would make him the highest paid player in over a decade. The deal would extend his stay at Tynecastle until 2027 and ward off any potential suitors. Hearts have not received any formal bids for Shankland so far, but they have made it clear that they would only consider offers that are in excess of the £4.5 million that Celtic paid Hibs for Scott Brown in 2007. Hearts’ chief executive Andrew McKinlay said:
“We know exactly what Lawrence is worth to us, so it had to be in that ballpark and upward of that ballpark for it to make any sense. That’s not to say we wouldn’t get third without Lawrence – but it certainly would have been a massive high risk. People forget that the Scottish transfer record sits at £4.5 million between Scottish clubs and that was Scott Brown a good few years ago. And it would have to be in excess of something like that. Were we really expecting the Scottish transfer record to be broken? I don’t think so – and there was never any hint that it was going to be. I can only speak personally, but I didn’t believe we would get a bid from anyone. We’re delighted and as we said from day one, we wanted to keep Lawrence. And we’ve managed to achieve that. It’s great that we’ve got him for at least another 18 months and we’ll see how things pan out.”
Rangers’ interest in Shankland
Rangers have been long-term admirers of Shankland and have reportedly sent scouts to watch him in action several times. The Ibrox club are keen to add more firepower to their squad, especially after losing Roofe and Silva, who were valued at £4.5 million and £35.6 million respectively. Rangers are also facing competition from other clubs, such as Cruzeiro, who are poised to sign Jose Cifuentes, another Rangers midfielder. According to The Fourth Official, Shankland wants to move to Rangers this month and those at Ibrox are willing to pay what they consider to be a fair price for the forward’s signature. However, that offer is likely to fall far below Hearts’ £3 million asking price, which could prove to be a stumbling block in negotiations.
Hearts’ busy transfer window
Hearts are not only focused on keeping Shankland, but also on strengthening their squad for the second half of the season. The Jambos are currently third in the Premiership table, six points behind leaders Celtic, and are on course for a £5 million Euro bounty for qualifying for the group stage of the Europa Conference League. Hearts have already signed Ross County playmaker Yan Dhanda on a pre-contract agreement and are hoping to complete the deal this month. They are also interested in Livingston full-back James Penrice and Charlton midfielder Scott Fraser, who have both been linked with moves to Tynecastle. Hearts manager Steven Naismith is confident that his side can maintain their impressive form and challenge for the top spots in the league.