Five things you should know about Hearts signing BjÃ¸rn Johnsen
Hearts have surprised everyone with the capture of the US-born striker on a three-year deal.
Here’s everything you need to know about the latest Tynecastle recruit.
He’s very tall but also fast
Hearts fans looking for a comparison should think along the lines of Osman Sow rather than Mark de Vries. His build is more sinewy than broad and he looks to jink around players with the ball at his feet as much as he tries to dominant them in the air with a strong leap. Of course, at 6ft 5in, expect crosses to be aimed for his head, but he has other strings to his bow.
He holds dual American and Norwegian nationality
He was born in New York to a Norwegian father and American mother before growing up in North Carolina. Instead of going to college - an attempt was made to recruit him to the University of North Carolina - he opted instead to travel to the land of his father’s birth and make a career for himself in professional football.
He’s had to pull himself up through the ranks
Initially he moved around a few teams in Norway before attending a free-trial event in Paris that got him noticed by Spanish side CD Atlético Baleares. Though he struggled there, his career picked up momentum when he moved to Louletano in Portugal and started finding the back of the net with increasing regularity. It was enough to alert Atletico CP, a league above Louletano in the Portuguese second tier, and he quickly showed his worth, becoming the team’s star player.
Benfica tried to sign him
When Johnsen left Atletico CP he was the top goalscorer in the league. For months he’d been pursued by giants Benfica but Atletico were holding out for more money. Frustratingly for the striker, who almost realised his dream of playing for one of Europe’s biggest clubs, Benfica got tired of the constant negotiations and dropped their interest. It was then that Litex Lovech moved to sign him.
His sending off proceeded his team being expelled from the Bulgarian league
Midway through his second season with the club, Johnsen was sent off during a match with Levski Sofia. When team-mate Rafael Enrique Pérez Almeida was also shown a red card, the club’s sporting director insisted the team leave the field and refuse to see out the rest of the match - which they were leading 1-0. This led to the expulsion of Litex from the Bulgarian top flight. The future of the club currently remains in the balance. Johnsen and some of his team-mates were allowed to finish the campaign playing for the club’s B team.
During his time in Bulgaria the 24-year-old netted 20 goals in 46 games.