If the Hearts transfer rumour flying around involving former £20m man is true I’d be delighted

They call this time of year 'silly season' for a reason.

The domestic action has finished and with players, managers and agents all off on a beach somewhere, there’s no-one home to crush the wild transfer rumours flying around. And there’s plenty of them already across the Premiership. Some will have substance, others will be Jackanory stuff. But if the one I’ve heard doing the rounds - that Hearts are in for Oli McBurnie - turns out to be true then I’d be delighted.

Listen, it might turn out to be a bigger load of nonsense than a Tory election pledge but for me that’s exactly the calibre of player Hearts should be after this summer. He’s out of contract at Sheffield United and looking to move on, so why shouldn’t Steven Naismith make a bid to bring him to Tynecastle. He’s got the lure of European football, a cracking stadium, some of the best training facilities in the country and the backing of a passionate fan base to offer the former £20million man. I really believe that it’s an attractive proposition which would appeal to a lot of players.

I just hope the club chiefs are thinking along similar lines when it comes to making a statement signing. I read Naisy say this week that the Hearts hierarchy won’t risk the club’s long-term sustainability by splurging the £5million windfall it's set to rake in from qualifying for Europe all in one window. Given the financial mess the current board has had to unpick over the last decade, of course it’s entirely right that the people in charge are careful with how they spend their precious income.

But that doesn’t mean they have to curtail their ambition in the transfer market. There are plenty of ways you can structure a deal or a loan that will allow you to bring in high-quality recruits without breaking the bank or putting the club in jeopardy. But I do think it’s time the club started thinking bigger on that front. And for me, it’s absolutely vital we bring in another striker this summer.

Finding a proven, nailed-on goalscorer has to be the priority over the next couple of weeks. I’m not talking about an up-and-coming kid with bags of potential or a prospect that can be polished up. We need someone with a reputation for finding the net - and we should be prepared to pay a premium to get him.

And the reason for why that has to be the case is quite simple. It’s been an amazing season but even Naisy will be honest enough to admit that for most of the campaign, certainly up until January, Hearts have relied on Lawrence Shankland’s goals to get them out of trouble and up the table.

Without those 31 strikes, it would be a majorly different end result to the third-place finish the Jambos ended up achieving. Next year, with two qualifiers and eight group games guaranteed, there’s going to be a far heavier toll on this team than the one they dealt with over the last 12 months. Naisy is going to need another frontman to share that scoring burden - as well as another three or four quality additions beyond that just to ensure he can keep the team fresh.

But the bigger concern remains Shanks’ long-term future in Edinburgh. Listen we’d all love to keep him but he himself has acknowledged this might be his last big chance to earn a move offering life-changing money. He’s into the final year of his contract so if the Jambos are to cash in, it has to be now. But with the transfer window not due to close until September 2, the last thing Naismith needs is to be left panicking because someone has come in with a big offer an hour before the deadline.

I reckon he’ll want to guard against that happening by getting somebody in early, somebody who can play alongside and accentuate all Lawrence’s positives - or step up and fill his boots if the worst comes to the worst and he moves on. I’d be looking for a striker who is perhaps a little bit more dynamic up front, with the legs and power to give us an out-ball if we find ourselves penned in once we get into those European fixtures.

I reckon McBurnie fits that bill but he won’t come cheap given the cash floating about down south. Of course, there will be plenty of critics who will turn their nose up at Oli. For some reason the Tartan Army have never really taken to him, perhaps because he’s made no secret of the fact he supports Rangers. But I’d have him up here in a second. You don’t play the majority of your career in the Premier League at the top end of the Championship in England if you’re a bad player.

He’s had a rough year with Sheffield United getting relegated - but any time the Blades did carry a threat this season, it was with Oli in the team. If Hearts have any intention of competing in Europe and maintaining their status as Scotland’s third-force, they need to have as many players doing that. Anyone saying different is just being silly.