Exclusive: Daniel Stendel opens up on why Hearts aim to sign Donis Avdijaj
Kosovo winger due to land in Edinburgh for Tynecastle talks
Daniel Stendel today spoke for the first time about why he wants to bring the Kosovo winger Donis Avdijaj to Hearts. The Tynecastle manager told the Evening News that Avdijaj will add goals and European experience if he signs a contract with the Edinburgh club.
The German-born 23-year-old is expected to fly into the Capital for final talks with Hearts officials in the next 24 hours. He will receive a tour of the Riccarton training base and Tynecastle, with Stendel eager to sign him in time for Wednesday night's Premiership trip to Ross County.
Avdijaj is available as a free agent after agreeing to terminate his contract with the Turkish club Trabzonspor on Friday. Other clubs in Europe are interested but Hearts will put a lucrative contract in front of the Kosovo internationalist.
"At the moment he is not signed but he is a player with power and he can score goals from the wing," explained Stendel. "He is young but he has experience in big clubs. If we can sign him, I believe he can help us.
"He is an offensive player. I know him from his time as a youth. He was a central striker then but in the last few years he played on the wing. He played in Turkey, Holland, Austria and Germany. For a player of such a young age, he can bring a lot of experience from different leagues to us."
Avdijaj was a squad player at Trabzonspor and is keen to join a club who will offer regular first-team football. He earned a huge reputation as a teenager at Schalke 04, with Liverpool among other major European clubs showing interest in him at the time.
Subsequent spells at Sturm Graz, Roda JC and Willem II brought mixed fortunes and he moved to Trabzonspor last July. His one-year contract there was terminated two days ago.
Stendel admitted Hearts would probably be unable to sign the forward had he realised his full potential in Turkey.
"If he played the way he can play for the last year, then maybe the chance for us to sign him would not be so easy," added the German. "It is not easy at the moment. The last two weeks showed me that it is not so easy getting a new player to sign a contract. I hope we can sign him."