Levein feels Hearts have pulled off ‘a bit of a coup’ in signing Naismith on loan from Norwich
PUBLISHED: 14:04 18 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:59 18 January 2018
Steven Naismith’s time in the shadows at Norwich City has come to an end, at least temporarily, after completing his expected loan move to Hearts until the end of the season
Naismith was pictured arriving at Tynecastle to finalise the move this morning and both clubs have now confirmed the deal, with the possibility of a home debut against Hibs in the William Hill Scottish Cup on Sunday touted, depending on international clearance arriving in time.
The Scotland international forward has made just three appearances for City this season, the last of which was in the League Cup in August.
He is now set to join the Edinburgh side and return to the Scottish top flight – where he previously played for Kilmarnock and Rangers – on loan for the remainder of the season.
Hearts boss Craig Levein told his club’s website: “It’s a bit of a coup to bring somebody in of Steven’s quality, not just in a footballing sense but as a person as well. It’s much in keeping with the senior players we have here already, the likes of Don Cowie, Christophe Berra and Aaron Hughes.
“I think he’ll be a huge player in the dressing room and a great example to the rest of the team. On top of that he’s a fantastically talented football player.
“He’ll bring a bit of nous, experience, energy and enthusiasm – which he has in abundance. He’s also got goalscoring ability.”
It is understood Hearts will take on around a quarter of the 31-year-old’s hefty wages, which reportedly dropped to around £30,000 per week after the Canaries were relegated from the Premier League in 2016.
Naismith was signed from Everton in a deal worth up to £8.5million in the 2016 January transfer window as City spent big to try and ensure they did not drop back down to the Championship.
Just eight goals in 48 games followed though in a largely unsuccessful two years in Norfolk. However, the 31-year-old still has a year remaining of his contract so is looking to get his career back on track to generate interest in a permanent sale.
He now looks set to head to Tynecastle, who are managed by former Scotland boss Levein and currently sit fifth in the Scottish Premiership table.
• STV Sport spotted the Scot arriving in Edinburgh, watch their video above
Naismith would be the third big-name exit of the week for the Canaries, following Russell Martin’s loan to Rangers and Cameron Jerome being sold to Derby in a deal worth an initial £1.5m.
The hard-working attacker has 45 caps and seven goals for Scotland but hasn’t played for his country since March 2017.
He was also linked with Rangers but, along with some apparent Championship interest, his high wages have made his exit difficult.
Naismith scored twice and claimed an assist for City’s under-23s on Sunday and was praised for his efforts by development squad coach Matt Gill after a 4-3 win over Newcastle.