Greek defender Chritos Karipidis could be on his way back to PAOK Salonika, the club Hearts bought him from for a fee of around £200,000, according to the Edinburgh Evening News. Karipidis, who can play right back or central defence, has only one year remaining on his contract and it is understood that Hearts want to recoup the same amount they paid for the player, almost 2 years ago to the day, with a sell-on clause added on, entitling the Tynecastle club to a percentage of any future transfer.
Karipidis began his career in his native Greece with Kerkyra before moving to PAOK Salonika. He was signed for Hearts at the start of the 2006/07 season, when Valdas Ivanauskas was manager, but found it difficult to break his way in to the first team.
It wasn’t until towards the end of last year, under caretaker manager Stephen Frail, that Karipidis became a regular starter, partnering club captain Christophe Berra in central defence.
Despite some weaknesses, Karipidis in the only defender on the Hearts squad who is both willing to, and comfortable with, putting his foot on the ball and trying to play his was out of defence. Others such as Berra, Nielson and Zaliukas all lack this and if Karipidis was to leave Tynecastle, with the new season little over a week away, it would leave Hearts short on central defenders.
Ryan McGowan and Matej Rapnik, both under-19 for the vast majority of last season, could be considered rather than bringing in someone new, although this would be adding more inexperience to the defence, and the rest of the side, when it is clear experience is what is currently needed in the Hearts squad.