ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Igor Rossi could become the first Hearts star to pen a new contract next week, with Robbie Neilson insisting the no-nonsense Brazilian has been the pick of the Jambos’ summer signing.
The 26-year-old arrived at Tynecastle in July following a spell with Portuguese side Maritimo, with Neilson acknowledging that he was initially brought to Gorgie as a back-up player.
However, a string of composed performances have seen Rossi become indispensable and, with his contract set to expire next summer, Neilson is desperate to tie the player up.
The powerful centre-half has verbally agreed an extension and Hearts are understood to be hopeful that the formalities could be completed as early as next week. Arnold Djoum, who is out of contract in January, will also pen an 18-month extension before the turn of the year.
Neilson said: “We are looking good. [Arnaud] Djoum and [Igor] Rossi are both agreed, we just need to get it signed.”
On the progress made by Rossi, the Hearts boss continued: “He’s been great. We brought him in as cover really, for [Jordan] McGhee, [Alim] Ozturk and [Blazej] Augustyn, but he has come into the team and has been outstanding.
“He gives us stability and he is a proper defender, he just wants to defend. He has probably been the best of the signings, with his consistency, ability and attitude around the club.
“It is down to his character. He is a hard, tough player and he sets the tone in training. He has been great.”