Who should Hearts try to sign ?
Given the recent injuries to Lee Wallace and Andrew Driver, the risk of losing one of these guys this month is virtually nil - meaning that the current squad is likely to enter February intact. Good news then ? Well, yes - but the modern-day rapid turnover of players means that shrewd managers often try to bring in a good replacement player 6 months ahead of a current one leaving - money permitting. So I wonder if Hearts should be looking to strengthen the squad now in anticipation of tempting bids arriving in the summer for the likes of Driver, Wallace, Jonsson, Zaliukas and Templeton.
I believe that Balogh, Palazuelos, Stevenson and Bouzid are out of contract in the summer too. With Kello and McDonald ahead of him - and Mark Ridgers gaining valuable experience out on loan - it seems likely that the Hungarian keeper will be released. JJ seems to like Stevenson and Palazuelos - however a new contract for the latter would probably be at a much lower wage than present. Bouzid has indicated in the media that he is looking to move to England.
So I think there is a good case for JJ to try to bring in at least one player this January, if funds permit. Attacking players are always the most sought-after, and JJ proved in the 1990s that he could unearth some very good ones from lesser teams (McCann, Cameron, Fulton for example). I think that`s the area where we should pay special attention to, despite the team`s recent good run, since injuries to key men like Skacel, Kyle or Templeton can have a big negative impact.
So how about one of these names -
Jamie Murphy (Motherwell)
Age 21. Powerful striker who is improving each season. If the time was right in his contract cycle, an approach for him would be most interesting.
John Sutton (Motherwell)
Age 27. Striker who has averaged more than 1 goal per 3 games at St. Mirren and Motherwell.
Mehdi Taouil (Kilmarnock)
Age 27. Clever midfielder who has always looked impressive against Hearts
Morgaro Gomis (Dundee Utd)
Age 25. Exciting midfielder who is a free agent in the summer. Although he wants to play in Spain, he might be keen to stay in Scotland if a good offer came along.
Adam Rooney(Inverness CT)
Age 22. Confident Irish striker who has scored almost a goal every 2 games (albeit many in the First Division) - he is a free agent in the summer.
Johnny Hayes(Inverness CT)
Age 23. Tricky Irish winger who has scored a few goals too. Contracted until summer 2012.
What are your thoughts, folks ?