Hearts have completed the pre-contract signing of Adelaide United full-back Ben Garuccio.
The 22-year-old will sign a three-year deal with the Edinburgh club and offers a permanent solution to their problem left-back position.
Out of contract at Adelaide, Garuccio holds both Australian and Italian nationality and is moving to Europe in the hope of further his career. He has represented Australia at under-20 and under-23 level and played at the Australian Institute of Sport, Melbourne Heart and Adelaide.
Hearts manager Craig Levein had hoped to secure another loan deal for the Manchester United left-back Demetri Mitchell. However, United officials want the Englishman for pre-season tour duty this summer and Levein cannot afford to wait too long for a decision.
Garuccio will report to Riccarton next month to begin pre-season training with his new team-mates. He will be the sixth new signing at Hearts after Steven MacLean, Uche Ikpeazu, Bobby Burns, Jake Mulraney and Olly Lee.
He explained how he asked compatriots who previously played for Hearts for advice before making the switch to Tynecastle.
"I’ve got quite a few friends that have played in Scotland so I was able to get a lot of advice. A few of them have played at Hearts and under Craig Levein, so that was a huge help," Garuccio told the club website.
"I spoke to guys like Patrick Kisnorbo and Dylan McGowan, so yeah, it was really good to get the views of Aussie boys who have played for Hearts in the past. They only had good things to say about the club.
"It’s an amazing opportunity for me to join such a big club and I can’t wait to get over to Edinburgh and get started. I’ve been impressed with everything I’ve seen so far. Craig showed me around and just right from the word go I had a really good feeling about the club.
"It’s always nice when a manager takes the time to find out all about you and makes you feel wanted. Being able to communicate with him and understand exactly what he wants from me has been great and I’ve got a really good feeling.
"I absolutely loved Edinburgh, the training ground is of a high standard and the stadium is unbelievable. I can’t wait to play my first game there."