Donis Avdijaj: Who is the Trabzonspor forward linked with Hearts?
Six-cap international is on Daniel Stendel's radar as he seeks to bolster his squad
Hearts have been linked with a move for Trabzonspor forward Donis Avdijaj. Here's a quick lowdown on the 23-year-old...
Avdijaj began his career with Schalke in Germany, scoring 59 goals in 53 games for the club's Under-17s and registering 15 assists, before continuing his form with 17 in 24 for the Under-19s. His numbers earned him a call-up to the senior squad and was an unused substitute in a UEFA Champions League group stage clash against Chelsea in September 2014.
Amid reported interest from Liverpool, Schalke added a £41 million release clause to his contract. In January 2015 he joined Sturm Graz, signing an 18-month loan deal.
He played 45 times for the Austrians, netting 13 goals and laying on 11 for his team-mates. He was played mostly as a left-midfielder but occasionally deployed as an attacking midfielder or second striker.
Roda JC took Avdijaj on loan in January 2018, and he struck four goals in 14 appearances. Seven months later he joined fellow Dutch side Willem II, signing a one-year deal with the option of a second year. His initial form for the Tilburg side was impressive, and on top of eight goals he added eight assists in 18 games.
Christmas incident, Willem II exit and joining Trabzonspor
He left the club by mutual agreement in March 2019. Reports in German publication Kicker suggested that, after failing to reach peak fitness and following an incident shortly before Christmas 2018 with three team-mates, he was suspended and eventually agreed to an exit.
Advijaj claimed in a December 2018 interview that he had had offers from a host of top clubs including Juventus and Manchester United prior to signing his first professional contract with Schalke.
Advijaj told Goal magazine: “At that time, everybody wanted to be my friend. Everyone wanted to tell me what was best for me.
"When I was fifteen or sixteen years old, the big clubs were already trying to sign me and offered me millions. Before I signed for Schalke, I had offers from Juventus, Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool. Regardless of which match or tournament, scouts were always there to watch me.”
In July 2019 he signed a one-year deal with Super Lig side Trabzonspor, with the option of an additional three years. He has so far scored just once for the Turkish club, and has registered two assists.
Ostensibly a left-winger, Avdijaj is capable of operating on either flank, in attacking midfield and as a second striker. However, the bulk of his goals for Schalke Under-17s in the U17-Bundesliga West league came from an attacking midfield position.
He was deployed as a centre-forward in 12 matches for the German club's Under-19s, scoring four and assisting three. At Trabzonspor he has been playing as a winger with nine appearances on the right flank and seven on the left, along with two as a second striker.
How to pronounce his name
Adonis' surname is pronounced "Av-dij-eye".
Born in Osnabruck in Germany's Lower Saxony region to Kosovo Albanian parents originating from Istok, Avdijaj represented Germany at Under-16, Under-17 and Under-19 level - scoring ten goals in 13 appearances for the Under-17s - before appearing to declare for Albania in March 2015.
In November 2016, he expressed an interest in playing for Kosovo. FIFA red tape prevented him from making an appearance in a 2018 World Cup qualifier, but he got the green light from the governing body in March 2017, debuting for the nation that same day in another World Cup qualifier against Iceland.
Avdijaj has six caps to his name, and two goals. Both strikes came in a UEFA Nations League match against Malta in November 2018, with Kosovo running out 5-0 winners.