BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
HEARTS have accused Jamie Walker of reneging on an agreement to sign a new contract which would have made him the highest paid player at Tynecastle.
The capital club have also lambasted social media “falsehoods” which suggested director of football Craig Levein mislead the media earlier this week by revealing that the player had chosen to seek a move elsewhere.
According to a candid statement from Hearts, Walker turned down a bumper three-year extension in February, informing him that he would rather see out the remainder of his deal, which runs until June 2018.
However, those events have been refuted online, with a Facebook post from his father, Allan, being widely circulated. Now deleted, it suggested that Walker had been presented with a derisory offer and that his position had been misrepresented by Levein.
Hearts have addressed the situation as relations between club and player threaten to become irreparable.
A message on the Hearts website read: “In line with our policy of at all times communicating openly and honestly with our supporters, we would like to correct some misinformation that is currently being widely circulated on social media.
“We refer to the recent ill-informed and potentially damaging stories relating to Jamie Walker and his contractual position with the club.
“Naturally, the club wants him to stay and made earnest efforts to secure his long-term future here at Hearts. Those efforts were reflected in the new three-year deal offered to the player in February 2017, one which would’ve made Jamie the highest paid player at the club.
“Despite Jamie initially agreeing to sign this contract, the club was then informed that he had changed his mind and would not be signing the new deal.
“Despite the club doing everything in its power to hold onto, and reward, one of its top youth products, it would seem that the player would prefer to see out the remaining year of his contract, leaving the club in a no-win situation.
“Hearts totally refute any suggestion that a member of the club board or senior executive would be less than honest with any information provided to the media or the fans and it was insulting to see such accusations and falsehoods spread across social media.”
The statement added: “The club has no desire to lose a talent such as Jamie. He is a firm favourite both with the fans and indeed the management. Nor would it stand in the way of any player who does not want to sign a contract and play for Hearts. We must protect the interests of the fans and the business when faced with such a scenario.”
Walker has made 162 appearances for Hearts since making his senior debut in 2012, scoring 38 goals and was the club’s top scorer last term. He is attracting interest from Rangers as well as several suitors south of the border.