BY ALAN TEMPLE – Capital City Press
Robbie Neilson has expressed his admiration for Bulgarian midfielder Milen Gamakov but admits Hearts are being priced out of a deal for the player by his club.
Botev Plovdiv are thought to be demanding around £350,000 for the highly-rated 21-year-old, with Serie A club Palermo also reportedly interested in his services.
Neilson confirmed that the 6ft 2ins playmaker, who was named runner-up for the Young Player of the Year award in Bulgaria last term, is someone Hearts are acutely aware of.
However, he refuted claims in Gamakov’s homeland that Hearts have seen a £100,000 bid rejected – and he doesn’t envision the Tynecastle club entering the race for the player unless Plovdiv reduce their demands.
He explained: “He was a player that got put to us, but with the money they’re talking about, it’s not something we’re going to go for.
“There’s been no offer from us. He’s a good player who is being put about a lot of clubs in Italy and Spain. But at that kind of price, it’s not something we can look at.
“They [Plovdiv] won’t lower their expectations. If they lowered the expectations, it’s something we would look at if a player is good enough.
“We tried to get a centre-half in the summer and the valuation was too high so we had to go somewhere else – that’s football.”
Meanwhile, Blazej Augustyn, who was absent for Wednesday evening’s 2-0 win against Motherwell, has been ruled out for at least a fortnight after undergoing minor surgery to cure a hernia on Friday morning.
Neilson added: “Blazej won’t make it, he has problem with his groin. He has a hernia and will be out for about a fortnight – he got an operation on Friday morning, but the timelines for hernias are great nowadays.”