JUANMA DELGADO left Hearts to join the Spanish second division club UCAM Murcia on a season-long loan.
However, the Edinburgh club resisted Wigan Athletic’s attempts to lure Callum Paterson away by rejecting a third offer from the English Championship side.
Keeping Paterson beyond the closure of the transfer window at midnight last night was seen as key to Hearts’ plans for the rest of the season.
His contract expires in June but Wigan didn’t come close to matching the £1million valuation placed on him by Tynecastle officials.
Hearts would be entitled to a development fee even if he leaves when his deal expires next summer.
Juanma had been told he could go on loan to play more regularly after falling out of favour. A temporary move back to his homeland was confirmed yesterday afternoon.
The 25-year-old striker finished last season – his first in Scotland – as Hearts’ top goalscorer with 13 goals. However, he has since fallen behind Tony Watt, Conor Sammon, Bjorn Johnsen and Robbie Muirhead in the queue for attacking places.
“We have brought in a number of strikers over the course of the summer months, so needless to say there is a great deal of competition up front,” Robbie Neilson, the Hearts head coach, told the club’s website. “Juanma has expressed a desire to play regular first team football, so we decided a loan move would be the best solution for both parties. Hopefully this will enable him to get plenty of game time under his belt over the course of the season.”
Juanma’s Hearts contract runs until June 2018, so he will return to Edinburgh next summer.
Nigerian full-back Juwon Oshaniwa was the subject of interest from clubs in France, but a concrete offer did not materialise. Like Juanma, he is surplus to requirements at Hearts but is contracted until 2018.