Robbie Neilson hopes to have deals for Jorge Grant and Alex Cochrane tied up in the next few days with both players “desperate” to sign.
A fee has been agreed with Peterborough for Grant, but the 27-year-old still needs to negotiate his exit from London Road before he can sign with the Jambos. It’s a similar scenario with Cochrane ahead of his permanent return from Brighton after spending last season on loan at Tynecastle.
“We are still working away with Brighton so we will hopefully get that over the line, maybe in a few days’ time,” Neilson explained. “Grant from Peterborough is still a wee bit back and forward but, again, we are quite far down the line with it.
“Both players are desperate to come here, it’s just a case of getting this sorted out in the background. These things always take longer than you would hope.
“[Grant’s] got moments in him. He’s got unbelievable set-play delivery. Secondly, he’s got the moment for the final pass or the final shot. We need more of that within the team. We get into good areas, we just need that final moment at times and he has got that.
“I’ve known Jorge for a number of years from when I was down south. I saw him with different clubs. When he was at Nottingham Forest, I knew Mark Warburton and David Weir, who had him there. He moved to Notts County so I’ve always had an eye on him.
“He had a great season at Lincoln then went to Peterborough and it probably didn’t quite work out the way he wanted it to. That’s kind of the market we look at. It was the same with Beni Baningime when he went on loan. It didn’t quite work out and we managed to get him. It has worked out well in the past for us.
“I see him more in the No.10, attacking midfield role. I think he will bring quality to us. There is still a bit of work to get done but we aren’t too far away.
“Right from his first couple of months here, when we saw the type of player [Alex] was, how he fitted into the group, the team and the style of play, we were trying to move things forward. We have always been in contact.
“We expected Brighton to extend his contract and the hope was that we could then make a move to get him up here. So far, it has worked out well.”
Reports emerged this week linking Boyce with Aberdeen, which left Neilson baffled.
“The Boycey one was strange!” He laughed. “There’s been no contact between clubs or anything. Boycey’s been our top goalscorer the two years I’ve been here. I don’t want to lose him and I don’t expect to. I don’t know where it’s come from, but that’s what happens at this time of the seas when there’s not a lot happening in the transfer market.”
Despite Dundee United sporting director Tony Asghar’s confidence that Hearts will have to stump up compensation for Lewis Neilson, the capital club are equally sure they’ve done everything by the book.
“We’re pretty confident about the things that happened and the process of it,” said Neilson. “It’s up to United to say what they think about it. We’ve heard nothing from the SFA about it all, so as far as we’re concerned, we’ve done everything above board.”
Meanwhile, Neilson insisted there’s been no contact with Beerschot over Lawrence Shankland, adding: “There is nothing, although there has been a lot of talk about it. I think it’s this time of year. There is nothing between the clubs so we’ll wait and see.
“I know Shanks really well but at this moment there is nothing happening. If that changes then we will see, but I don’t think it will.”