Steven Naismith is a transfer target for Hearts

Steven Naismith has proved a hit on loan at Hearts. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Steven Naismith has proved a hit on loan at Hearts. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Hearts want to offer Steven Naismith a permanent escape route from Norwich City.

The Scottish international has proved a hit at Tynecastle during a short-term loan stint after falling down the pecking order under Daniel Farke.

Naismith is one of the top earners at Carrow Road but is approaching the final year of his current deal and Hearts' boss Craig Levein is sweet on a longer-term stay.

'I'd like to keep him. I don't know how possible that is but he has been good,' he told the Edinburgh Evening News. 'With a pre-season under his belt, I think he could be even better.

'He's in a good place just now.

'He's been a great help to the younger players here and they all look up to him.

'He's been great with his time, sharing it with them, so we'll get the rewards from that in the fullness of time.'

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Naismith made it clear during the January transfer window he needed to get away from the Canaries in a quest for regular first team football.

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The 31-year-old has failed to make any lasting impact since a big-money move from Everton in 2016.

'A lot is going to be up to Norwich to be honest,' he said. 'I've got another year on my contract there and they've moved in a different direction, undoubtedly.

'They will have a say in it but I would definitely be open to staying in Scotland and staying at Hearts.

'I've loved every minute of it here and the club have been great with me. Probably the biggest thing is they have a very good squad of players with ability and who are also good characters to be around.

'I'm open-minded to anything at the moment.

'I have enjoyed it here. It's a totally different set-up in terms of what I have been at before. That brings its own new challenges but also good points as well.