The future of Hearts striker Lawrence Shankland has continued to dominate the headlines throughout the summer transfer window. But now, with the summer trading period closing in, the five-times capped Scotland international is remaining at Tynecastle and will hope to help his side improve on their start to the season.
Shankland has found the net on five occasions during the opening month of the campaign but was unable to help his side progress into the group stages of the Europa Conference League after they suffered a play-off round defeat against Greek club PAOK on Thursday night.
The Evening News takes a look at what has been reported and what has been said about Shankland’s future and the speculation that had linked him with a move elsewhere.
Where has interest in Shankland come from?
It is hardly a surprise to see there has been interest in the striker after he became a key figure at Tynecastle following his cut price move from Belgian club Beerschot last summer. Shankland scored 28 goals and provided four assists in 47 appearances in all competitions during his first season with Hearts and has continued to shine during the new campaign with five goals in his first eight games.
The Evening News first reported the interest from England and Saudi Arabia. The speculation over his future at Tynecastle has continued into the final days of the summer transfer window after TEAMtalk claiming the Hearts star was the subject of an enquiry from English Championship club Southampton. The Saints were preparing for the possible departure of Scotland striker Che Adams after he was linked with a move to Crystal Palace and Everton.
There were also reports of interest from abroad too with Maccabi Tel Aviv manager and former Celtic star Robbie Keane said to be considering a move for Shankland.
What have Hearts said about Shankland’s future?
Frankie McAvoy opened up on speculation linking Shankland with a move to a number of clubs.
He said: “Joe Savage and Steven Naismith deal with recruitment and transfers. As far as I’m concerned, he hasn’t intimated to me that he wants to move on. I’m not surprised if there is speculation regarding him because he’s a top player and he’s our captain. I would expect interest, if I’m honest, but nothing I’m aware of at the moment. He’s our captain and hopefully he is available to lead our line on Thursday.”
What has Shankland said about his future?
Speaking earlier this month, the Hearts skipper spoke out over his ambitions for his career and admitted he would like to ‘kick on’ if he was handed the opportunity to do so.
He said: “I live in the moment and concentrate on what I’m doing at the time. If I do well at Hearts and it leads to so-called bigger moves, then it does. But you don’t get them without concentrating on what you are doing here. Of course, everybody has aspirations. They want toLawrence Shankland’s Hearts future: Transfer interest, ‘not followed up’ verdict, forward’s comments kick on and play at a higher level and do what they can.
“Usually that comes with having success. If it happens for me, it happens - and if it doesn’t, that’s it. But from a personal point of view, there is room to kick on in your career, and of course I would want to do that if I could.”
Shankland also refused to discuss reports of interest from clubs in the Saudi Pro League after he scored in the Europa Conference League home win against Rosenberg as he told BBC Scotland: “That is it. I live in the here and now and I am enjoying my football and nights like this. I will keep enjoying them.”
Despite their exit from the Conference League at the hands of PAOK, Hearts fans will hope Shankland is there for more memorable nights at Tynecastle.
What Barry Anderson has said
Our writer Barry Anderson explained on deadline day regarding Shankland: “A number of Tynecastle first-team players are generating interest and it remains to be seen which, if any, will leave. Captain Lawrence Shankland had interest from clubs in Saudi Arabia and the English Championship but initial enquiries have not yet been followed up.”