ROBBIE Neilson says Callum Paterson will still be a Hearts player when the transfer window closes unless Wigan make a much-improved offer for the defender.

The Tynecastle club have rejected a second bid from the English Championship outfit that was “substantially” below their asking price.

Wigan boss Gary Caldwell made a second move this week but Hearts are prepared to wait and allow the 21-year-old right back to leave for a compensation fee next summer when his contract runs out, due to his importance to the squad.

Neilson said: “There’s been another offer in from Wigan but we knocked it back. The two clubs are miles apart in their valuations of the player.

“We believe he is a real asset to us. He is a Scotland international, has played a lot of games for us and scored a lot of goals. He is back in the Scotland set-up for the next qualifying group. We value the player at a price and they [Wigan] have come in significantly below that.

“The valuation differences between the two clubs is vast and unless Wigan are prepared to move substantially, he will be here after the window.”

Neilson added: “We’re in a really strong financial position – we don’t need to sell players.

“We have to set a precedent, that if we have a player with a year left on his contract and we don’t get the figure we are looking for, he will stay with us for the year.

“The compensation is quite significant because he’s a Scottish international.

“Either way, whether it’s this summer or next summer, the club will get a fee that we are happy with.”

Paterson, who is approaching the 150-appearance mark for Hearts, looks certain to move on at some stage in the next 12 months.

When asked whether there was any hope the versatile player could extend his contract, Neilson said: “Possibly but I think he is getting to that age now and that stage where his next development will be down in England. Whether that be this summer, next summer or the following one, ultimately it will be down to the player. We respect that and support him because he has been a great servant to us.”

Two players more likely to leave Tynecastle in the next week are Spanish striker Juanma and Nigerian left-back Juwon Oshaniwa, who have not played this season.

“Juanma hasn’t been playing recently and he’s not been involved in the squad so I spoke to him and his agent to see what was out there,” Neilson said ahead of tomorrow’s Ladbrokes Premiership encounter with Partick Thistle at Firhill.

“There were a couple of clubs interested, he went over to Belgium to speak to them and couldn’t work things out. The option is still there for him if he wants to move. If he doesn’t he will stay and be part of the squad. Oshaniwa is in the same situation.”

Neilson is still looking to bring players in, with a left midfielder his priority.

He added: “The previous couple of seasons we have waited until the window has shut before we made a move and that’s looking more and more likely that we might actually do that again.”