Hearts striker Juanma on verge of move to Japan

Hearts striker Juanma Delgado is due in Japan for a medical this weekend ahead of a proposed transfer to V-Varen Nagasaki.

Wednesday, 4th January 2017, 4:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th January 2017, 2:59 am
Hearts striker Juanma is wanted in Japan

The 27-year-old is currently on a season-long loan at UCAM Murcia in Spain, but Nagasaki officials have approached Hearts about a permanent transfer to the J2 League.

Discussions are currently ongoing and terms have yet to be agreed – despite a statement on V-Varen Nagasaki’s website claiming they had signed the player.

Juanma wants to terminate the loan deal with UCAM Murcia to continue his career in Asia. He plans to fly to Japan in the next 48 hours for a medical and further talks, with the aim of finalising terms.

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Juanma Delgado could leave Hearts for Japan

Hearts won’t stand in his way, although they are unlikely to receive a fee for a player who is one of their top earners.

They lured him to Edinburgh from the Greek club FC Kalloni in June 2015. He signed a three-year contract but was loaned out to UCAM after just 12 months. He scored 13 goals in 39 appearances last season.

With Tony Watt returning to parent club Charlton Athletic six months into a season-long loan, Juanma’s move would clear further space in attack for new Tynecastle head coach Ian Cathro to shape his own squad.

One player eager to remain in Gorgie is club captain Perry Kitchen, who has put Hearts ahead of international commitments with the United States.

Juanma Delgado could leave Hearts for Japan

The midfielder has declined the chance to join his compatriots this month for a training camp and friendly against Serbia under new national coach Bruce Arena.

Hearts’ Scottish Cup fourth-round tie at Raith Rovers on January 22 and the Ladbrokes Premiership meeting with Celtic a week later have taken precedence for Kitchen.

Arena has reassured him that he still remains part of the USA’s plans. “Perry is a player that I was in contact with recently, I was uncertain about the schedule for Hearts and I wanted to invite him into the January camp,” said Arena.

“Through our conversation, I understood that Hearts have a cup competition in the third week in January then their league schedule starts at the end of January, so it wasn’t possible for Perry to come in. He is certainly a player we’re going to look at, he can play that defensive midfield role.”