Dundee United manager Mixu Paatelainen has admitted he is less confident of keeping John Souttar now than he was before Hearts made a move for him.
The Tynecastle side are keen to land the 19-year-old defensive midfielder but have not yet come back in with an improved offer for the player after having a bid believed to be under £100,000 rejected by United.
Paatelainen, who himself admitted an interest in Partick Thistle’s Steven Lawless going into the final weekend of the transfer window, said of Souttar: “John has been with United for a number of years and has developed.
“We hope he carries on his development with us.
“But on the other hand if the club is happy to let him go then so be it.
“If he moves to Hearts then it’s just a sign of someone matching our valuation of a player.
“There have been talks going on regarding John but there’s nothing to report and I haven’t given up hope of him signing a new deal here.
“John is a valuable member of the squad and plays all the time.
“Maybe I’m less confident of him signing a deal because a club has offered money for his services.
“That changes things a little bit but we value John and hope he stays.”
United travel to Firhill to face Partick in the Premiership today then again the following Saturday in the Scottish Cup at Tannadice – so there may be an opportunity to talk more about Lawless.
Paatelainen confirmed: “Steven Lawless is a player we like.
“He’s technically good and he’s a good player but it’s difficult to talk about any of their players before we play them twice so we’ll leave it there.”
Meanwhile, United have allowed Romanian defender Andrei Cordos to return home after an unsuccessful trial.