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