JUANMA gave up money owed to him in Greece and refused a more lucrative offer from Bristol City to join Hearts.
The Spanish striker signed a three-year contract at Tynecastle and rejected the English Championship because he is convinced his career can take off in Scotland. He negotiated an exit from his contract at Greek club Kalloni after weeks of negotiating.
As a compromise, he will pay the Lesbos-based side compensation from his own pocket if he earns a move to one of Europe’s top four leagues – Spain, Germany, Italy or England.
The strength of the 24-year-old’s conviction is demonstrated by the lengths he went to in order to join Hearts. He feels his style of play is ideally suited to British football and hopes, in time, to play in England’s Premier League.
“There was another club in the UK interested in me but I felt Hearts was the best option. I felt I had a lot more opportunity to play here so we pushed that,” said Juanma, speaking through his agent and interpretor, Clive Jagger. “I preferred Hearts. When we analysed both options, I felt Hearts was the best decision because I would have more playing time. I liked Robbie Neilson’s style of play, and his attitude to the game.”
Asked if he was tempted by Bristol City’s offer, Juanma replied: “We had long conversations about this but we all decided this one was the best option. Robbie really wanted me and he made that really clear. I’m convinced I’m going to play here and it was a career decision I made.”
Jagger revealed how the imposing forward opted to waive cash owed to him to secure his release from Kalloni. “Juanma has forgiven salary he was owed to leave Greece. There is a private agreement that Juanma will give them financial compensation if he goes to one of the top four leagues in Europe. That was to convince them what we wanted to do and what we were prepared to give them.
“He was on more money at Kalloni because pay is all net there. He just believes British football is his football. He had a car and a house all included in the deal over there. He’s going to pay those himself here. He’s taken a salary cut to come here so he isn’t thinking about money.”