BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
KYLE LAFFERTY checked in at Tynecastle on Friday as Hearts stepped up their attempts to sign the former Rangers ace.
The 29-year-old was greeted by a delegation from the Jambos at lunchtime and given a tour of the stadium, where construction work continues on their new £12 million main stand.
Owner Ann Budge, chief operating officer Scot Gardiner and the management team of Ian Cathro and Austin MacPhee – the latter having coached Lafferty with Northern Ireland – all met with the forward as they sought to sell him on a switch to Gorgie.
It is understood talks were informal, with the ex-Rangers striker keen to get a feel for the club and staff as he considers his options after leaving Norwich at the end of last season.
He left Tynecastle at 2 p.m. without reaching any sort of agreement and will decide in the coming days whether to pursue a return to Scottish football, where he scored 38 goals in four years for the Ibrox outfit.
His salary demands will be the key stumbling block. Hearts are ready to make him their highest-paid player by some distance, but that would still represent a considerable cut from what he has been accustomed to with the Canaries.
English Championship side Ipswich and Azerbaijan giants Qarabag, who are among a swathe of clubs credited with an interest in the languid front-man, would also be able to outspend the Jambos.