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City striker tempted by move to MLS

PUBLISHED: 07:17 19 February 2019 | UPDATED: 07:27 19 February 2019

Steven Naismith in action for Hearts at Rangers. Picture: PA

Steven Naismith in action for Hearts at Rangers. Picture: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Steven Naismith is tempted to move to the MLS when his contract runs out with Norwich City this summer.

Steven Naismith could be heading for the USA this summer. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesSteven Naismith could be heading for the USA this summer. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

The 32-year-old has adopted talismanic status during a loan spell at Hearts this season and manager Craig Levein would love to keep the striker in Edinburgh.

However, Naismith, who cost Norwich a reported £8.5m from Everton in January 2016, admits he has had offers to go to America and is tempted to try something new in the autumn of his career.

“I’d say it’s probably the toughest decision I’ve had to make in my career,” he told the Edinburgh Evening News. “When I’ve had chats with the manager, it’s clear that Hearts are doing all they can. They can’t do much more. That’s one side if I want to do that. The manager has spoken about life after football and stuff like that so that’s all there. But I just want to make sure I make the right decision.

“I’m not actively looking to find a move to there (to America). It’s more that at this stage of my career I don’t think there’s going to be another opportunity to do it. It’s whether you want it or not rather than ‘this club is in for me and I want to go’. That’s the decision I’ve got to make really.”

Naismith arrived at Norwich as the man tasked with scoring the goals to keep them in the Premier League just over three years ago. However, after a goalscoring debut against Liverpool, the Scotland international struggled to make an impact as the Canaries dropped to the Championship.

With the player reportedly on high wages, Norwich were keen to move the player on as they adjusted to life in the second tier but a buyer couldn’t be found.

Hearts offered an escape route on loan last summer and Naismith has thrived with the SPL side. They would love to keep him at Tynecastle but Naismith insists it is about more than money at this stage of his career.

“I’ve said it before, when you are younger it’s about money and playing at the highest level,” he said. “That’s 90 per cent of a young player’s decision. As you get older things change and it’s more a case of ‘do I fancy that? ‘I enjoy it more now. Every older player I’ve played with has said ‘play as long as you can’. It’s a mad business that one day you’ll wake up and won’t be able to do it again. Simple as that.

“I’ve only been to the States on pre-season. It’s just the life-experience,” he added. “You look at young players like (David) Bates going to Germany. Ryan Gauld going to Portugal. I really admire that. Back in the day I wish maybe I’d done that but I’ve enjoyed every bit of my career, and I do think ‘why would I not try it? That’s what I’m swaying with.”

Naismith doesn’t want to keep Hearts fans in the dark and insists he won’t keep the club hanging on his decision.

“I’ve not given myself a deadline but I’m realistic that I can’t drag it out too much,” he admits. “But I’ll take as much time as I need. As a person and a player, I’m quite structured and I like to know what’s happening nest week and the week after so that obviously plays on my mind as well. I don’t know what I want. I’m fortunate enough that I can sit and enjoy my football. Like most of the moves I’ve made in my career, one day I’ll wake up and think ‘that’s the right thing to do’ and I’ll pursue that.”

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