Gon­calves on the brink of Hearts move as Cathro con­tin­ues to build

The Herald - Herald Sport - - LADBROKES PREMIERSHIP -

STRIKER Es­mael Gon­calves is set to be­come Hearts head coach Ian Cathro’s fifth Jan­uary re­cruit after Anortho­sis Fa­m­a­gusta pres­i­dent An­dreas Pan­teli ad­mit­ted that the two clubs were close to reach­ing a deal.

It is thought Hearts are set to pay their Cypriot coun­ter­parts a trans­fer fee in the re­gion of £170,000 after two ear­lier bids had been re­jected.

Cathro, who worked with the for­mer St Mir­ren player dur­ing his time as as­sis­tant man­ager at Rio Ave, said after Wed­nes­day’s Scot­tish Cup re­play vic­tory over Raith Rovers that 25-yearold fits the pro­file for what they need in at­tack.

Pan­teli con­ceded that he was all but re­signed to los­ing Gon­calves.

He said: “It is al­most fin­ished. We are al­most there with Hearts.

“There are some small de­tails, not too many things. I can­not say ev­ery­thing is signed but the ne­go­ti­a­tions are go­ing on at the mo­ment. The player wants to go. He thinks it’s a good step for his ca­reer. This is what he thinks and this is one of the points we had in mind when we started ne­go­ti­a­tions with Hearts.”

Should Gon­calves make the move, he will also be re­united with Hearts as­sis­tant Austin MacPhee, who was part of the St Mir­ren coach­ing staff dur­ing the player’s loan stint in Pais­ley from Rio Ave in 2013.

The Por­tuguese for­ward has scored seven goals in 19 ap­pear­ances this term and was on tar­get in Wed­nes­day’s 5-0 vic­tory over ASIL.

Cathro, who has also signed Aaron Hughes, An­draz Struna, Len­nard Sowah and Malaury Martin this month, is fac­ing a race against time to have Gon­cavles in the squad for Sun­day’s Premier­ship clash at lead­ers Celtic.

Mean­while, Ip­swich man­ager Mick McCarthy has re­it­er­ated that de­fender Christophe Berra will not be al­lowed to re­join Hearts this month.

The Scot­land in­ter­na­tion­al­ist has been linked with a re­turn to Tynecas­tle and it was re­ported that the in­jured Cal­lum Pater­son could head to Port­man Road as part of a swap deal.

But McCarthy is adamant that the 31-year-old is go­ing nowhere.

He said: “I think there would be a bit of in­ter­est in tak­ing him back. What­ever the sum­mer brings is a dif­fer­ent thing al­to­gether. But for now, ab­so­lutely not, he’s go­ing nowhere.”

TYNECAS­TLE BOUND: For­mer St Mir­ren striker Es­mael Gon­calves is close to a move to Hearts

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