David Vanecek today revealed his frustration at waiting to join Hearts and stressed he wants his transfer completed as soon as possible.
In an exclusive Evening News interview, the Czech forward stated his desire to win trophies and play in Europe with the Edinburgh club – but conceded the timing of his arrival is entirely down to current employers, FK Teplice.
Hearts secured Vanecek on a pre-contract agreement last month and he is due to arrive in January. The player and the Tynecastle side would like the move done before Friday’s transfer deadline, but the clock is ticking and Teplice will not let Vanecek leave without first signing a replacement.
The situation leaves the 27-year-old exasperated. Previous moves to the German club RB Leipzig and Iranian side Esteghlal collapsed, so Vanecek is desperate for his first experience of football outwith his homeland. He explained that he has wanted to play in Britain since childhood and is itching for Teplice to release him.
“Honestly, it is not easy,” he said. “Since two months ago I don’t think about anything else. I want to be at Hearts ASAP. I had several meetings with the Teplice directors and also my agents, the Zika family, have been pushing Teplice.
“Their answer is still the same: ‘We haven’t got any replacement yet.’ On the other hand, I am professional and I focus in every game and I am trying to give the best performance. I believe that has been reflected in my goals during the first few games of the season.
“As an under-19 player I had a chance to go to France. During my adult career, I had an offer from RB Leipzig when they played in the third Bundesliga. Three years later they played in the Champions League.
“Six months ago I had an offer from Iran – Esteghlal FC, a big club with attendances up to 100,000. They won the Asian Champions League twice, but the transfer did not get finished for several reasons regarding financing and the closure of the transfer window.
“Since I was a child I had the dream to play in the British Isles. After Hearts’ offer I had a clear idea that I wanted to play for them. I believe I will start to live this dream very soon.”
Vanecek has scored four times in his first five games of the campaign for Teplice, although his ambitions lie beyond the Fortuna Liga. He missed Saturday’s match against Slavia Prague with a stomach complaint but fitness is generally one of his strongest assets.
Hearts supporters can expect a bustling striker with a physical style and an eye for goal. “I always focus 100 per on the field,” continued the player. “I feel strong in the box, I like a physical game and I feel confident inside the box.
“I also like scoring goals. I feel that I am strong in the air and I try to play the whole 90 minutes at the best possible level in order to give the best of me to the fans. With Hearts, I want to play in the top positions in the league, win some trophies and play in European tournaments.”
Vanecek visited Riccarton and was shown around Tynecastle by the Hearts manager Craig Levein during the summer before agreeing the pre-contract. The trip merely whetted his appetite for a new career in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
“I was great to hear Hearts’ interest in me,” said Vanecek, who is represented by the Zika-run Global Sports Management. “My agent called me when I was dining with my girlfriend and her mother. Suddenly it was the main topic to discuss during the dinner.
“I was great for me to meet Craig and see the club facilities. I felt the passion and proud history of the club since the first second. I met Craig and also Christophe Berra and they made a great impression on me.
“Craig has a big charisma. We spoke about football in general and my future role in the club. We had a great lunch together and we also spoke about the city, the beautiful Scottish landscape and Craig’s passion for dogs. He is a great person and I am looking forward to working with him.
“I know that Rudi Skacel, Michal Pospisil and Roman Bednar did great work at Hearts and that it is one of the most popular clubs in Scotland with great fans and tradition.
“They had the admiration of the fans and somehow they created a path for Czech players. I will try to continue on it and keep working on the Czech heritage in the club.”
Delving into Vanecek’s past shows a player who has achieved everything he realistically can in the Czech Republic. He won the title and cup as part of the Viktoria Plzen squad, plus the second division at Hradec Kralove.
He has claimed individual honours for his striking prowess and cherishes his international youth caps. The biggest challenge now is whether he can replace the recently-departed Kyle Lafferty at Hearts.
“I know that Lafferty is a big player, that he also played in Italy and England, and that Hearts fans like him a lot. I will try to do my best in order to be a decent replacement. I will do everything for it.”