Herald and Times Sport have reported that Rangers and Celtic are amongst the clubs chasing Aaron Hickey this summer, but new Hearts boss Robbie Neilson has expressed a hope that the left-back will sign a new contract.
Hickey had established himself as one of the most exciting talents currently coming through in the Scottish Premiership.
Herald and Times Sport reports that the Gers are monitoring his progress. But they are not the only side being linked with the defender.
Celtic, Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Lazio are also reportedly looking at Hickey.
But new Hearts boss Neilson has hinted that getting the 18-year-old to commit his future to the club is one of his priorities following his appointment.
“I expect interest but my hope is that [Hickey] comes back for pre-season,” he said, as reported by Herald and Times Sport. “My hope is that he plays for us over the season and we can tie him down to a longer deal.
“This is a great place for him to develop. Those will be conversations we have with him in the coming weeks and we’ll see how it goes. We want to keep hold of our best players and Aaron comes into that category.
“It can be difficult to get a career [for young players who leave to play in the under-23 ranks with English clubs]. For me they should come in and try and play 100 games at first team level and then make the move. It’s something we’ll discuss in the coming weeks and hopefully he agrees with us.”
TBR View: Rangers should be prepared to act quickly
Hickey still looks to be some way off being the finished article. Nevertheless, Rangers would surely be wise to step up their interest before the season starts.
With Jon Flanagan and Andy Halliday being released, Steven Gerrard does appear to have fewer options in Hickey’s position – even after the arrival of Calvin Bassey.
As noted by the Daily Record, Borna Barisic continues to be linked with a number of clubs. Rangers, of course, will surely do all they can to keep the Croatian.
But should they bring Hickey in, it may take some pressure off the Gers should the time come where the club decide to cash in on Barisic.