Greek centre-back Tasos Avlonitis joins Hearts

Greek central defender Tasos Avlonitis has signed with Hearts until the end of the season. Pic: Hearts FC
Greek central defender Tasos Avlonitis has signed with Hearts until the end of the season. Pic: Hearts FC
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Hearts have reinforced their defence with the signing of Greek centre-back Tasos Avlonitis.

The 27-year-old former Olympiakos player was a free agent and has signed a contract until the end of the season. He trained at Riccarton this morning alongside fellow countryman and new signing Alexandros Tziolis.

Portuguese striker Esmael Goncalves is also expected to finalise his contract before being confirmed as the latest addition to head coach Ian Cathro's squad.

The need for another defender accelerated yesterday when John Souttar suffered an Achilles injury in Hearts' 4-0 defeat by Celtic.

Defenders Andraz Struna, Aaron Hughes and Lennard Sowah, midfielders Malaury Martin and Choulay, plus striker Dylan Bikey have already arrived at Tynecastle this month. However, Cathro is preparing to take his number of new recruits to nine.

Avlonitis is a towering centre-back who represented Greece at Under-19 level. He counts Panionios, Kavala, Egaleo and Ilisiakos amongst his former clubs.

He spent time on loan at Sturm Graz last year before terminating his contract at Olympiakos in September. He hasn't had a club since.

Goncalves, 25, will offer competition in attack after Hearts agreed a fee – understood to be £175,000 – to buy him from the Cypriot club Anorthosis Famagusta.

Midfielder Tziolis, a 31-year-old current Greek internationalist, will provide real experience in the engine room.