HEARTS striker Esmael Goncalves insists Jamie Walker will prove ‘irreplaceable’ if he does leave the club.
Rangers are said to be preparing a fourth offer for the winger after failing with their previous approaches for the player.
Walker has a year left to run on his current deal but has been offered fresh terms by the Jambos, who are hopeful he will stay with them.
It has even been suggested the Gorgie outfit are prepared to make the 24-year-old their top earner in a bid to keep him.
And, as Ian Cathro’s team prepare to make their competitive bow in the Betfred Cup against Elgin City on Tuesday night, Goncalves is hopeful the Tynecastle hierarchy can resolve the ongoing saga.
The former St Mirren forward said: “I hope Jamie stays because he is a big player for us and he can help us a lot.
“It is important he stays because I don’t think we will find another player like him if he leaves.
“If he stays, I think we can go on to do good things.
“But if he leaves at the end of next month it will be impossible to find another player like him or near him.
“So, it would be good if the club fixes this situation with Jamie, so we can go forward.”
Goncalves netted against Hearts to help St Mirren lift the League Cup in 2013 with a 3-2 win in the final.
He confesses the victory, the Buddies’ first in a major competition since their Scottish Cup triumph of 1987, sparked wild celebrations and he would dearly love to repeat them in maroon.
He added: “I have great memories from this competition and I’ll try to repeat that here. I would love to do it again with Hearts.
“I think we partied all week after winning the cup with St Mirren. Me and Craig Samson stayed out for a long time, which was nice!
“I don’t think we would party all the week if we won with Hearts, but we would enjoy it.
“I think we have the team that can win the competition.”