Hearts to sign Greek internationalist Alexandros Tziolis
Greek international midfielder Alexandros Tziolis will join Hearts before the transfer window closes, the Evening News can reveal.
The 31-year-old is a free agent after agreeing to terminate his contract at PAOK Salonika. He is due to sign a short-term deal at Tynecastle and become head coach Ian Cathro's seventh signing this month.
Tziolis is a current member of Greece's international squad and holds 62 caps. He represented his country at the 2010 World Cup and 2008 European Championship and was also part of their 2014 World Cup squad. He carries an impressive CV having played for clubs including Panathinaikos, Werder Bremen, Racing Santander, Monaco and PAOK.
His signing represents a major coup for Cathro as he reinforces the Hearts squad for the second half of the season. He recruited his sixth new player yesterday with the arrival of Moha El Ouriachi Choulay on loan from Stoke City.
The 21-year-old Moroccan winger agreed a move to Tynecastle until the summer. He is a Morocco Under-23 internationalist and joins Aaron Hughes, Lennard Sowah, Malaury Martin, Andraz Struna and Dylan Bikey as Hearts' new arrivals so far this month.
Known as Choulay, the player began his career in Spain with Espanyol before joining Barcelona. He won the UEFA Youth League in 2014 but moved to England the following year.
Having been unable to break into Stoke's first team, he spent three months on loan at Shrewsbury Town earlier this season. He joins Hearts eager to gain experience of top-flight football.
Cathro is not finished in the transfer market and could add two more new faces in addition to Tziolis before the January window closes on Tuesday night.
The Anorthosis Famagusta forward Esmael Goncalves is expected in Edinburgh in the next 48 hours to sign for Hearts. He scored twice for the Cypriot club in Saturday's 4-1 win at Ermis before throwing his shirt to supporters in a final farewell gesture.
Afterwards, he told local media: "The first time I left for the money. Now I go only for the football." Hearts and Anorthosis officials have discussed a transfer fee of Â£175,000 for the player, whose contract in Famagusta runs until summer 2018.
Another centre-back is also considered a priority by Hearts prior to Tuesday's deadline.