Hearts: Ian Cathro targets four new signings for next season

Hearts manager Ian Cathro
Ian Cathro has won six out of his 23 games as Hearts manager

Hearts head coach Ian Cathro expects to sign four new players this summer, but refuses to discuss the chances of Christophe Berra being one of them.

The Scotland defender will leave Ipswich this summer and is thought to have held talks over a Hearts return.

But Cathro insists there would be no official transfer business at Tynecastle until the end of the season.

"I am aware of the speculation surrounding [Berra] and there are reasons for that," he said.

"There will be no comment on any of that until the end of the season."

Cathro signed nine players in January, including Greek international Alexandros Tziolis, and paying Anorthosis Famagusta £170,000 for striker Ismael Goncalves.

However, the Tynecastle side have since relinquished their top-four Scottish Premiership place, and trail fourth-placed St Johnstone by six points with three games remaining.

After the January upheaval, Cathro anticipates a more manageable transfer process during the summer.

"I think four players will join us," he said. "The summer window is very different to the January window, partly because you have more time.

Christophe Berra
Scotland defender Christophe Berra has been linked with a return to Hearts

"We are not a club that is in the position in the market to have transfer fees, so that determines it is very difficult in January and significantly easier in the summer.

"Every bit of business you do at the end of the season is simpler. The January window is a rushed one, partly because it's shorter, the stage of the season - you are doing business whilst you are competing as well.

"It will be completely different, we will have time to prepare these things. I arrived here on 6 December, 25 days before the window opened, of course it was rushed. Now it's not.

"We have lived through things and learned things which point us in a very, very clear direction. I know exactly what we are going to bring and exactly what I want the squad and team to look like come the first competitive game."

Cathro takes his team to face Rangers on Saturday six months after making his managerial debut at Ibrox. The 30-year-old has since won six times in 23 matches, but he feels he will take valuable lessons from a difficult baptism.

"A lot of things have happened," he said. "The most important thing [is] I know exactly what the team is going to be like.

"There have been some lessons in order to figure some of those things out and adjust some things, all the natural things that a team lives through."

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