Juanma agrees three-year deal with Hearts

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SPANISH striker Juanma Delgado flew into Edinburgh yesterday and signed a three-year deal with Hearts.

The tall frontman became Tynecastle head coach Robbie Neilson’s third summer signing.

Juanma arrives in Edinburgh. Picture: SNS

Juanma arrives in Edinburgh. Picture: SNS

The 24-year-old officially put pen to paper on a contract at the club’s Riccarton training base yesterday morning, moving to Hearts from Greek side Kalloni, where he scored seven goals last season. At 6ft 2in, the former Levante and Asteras Tripoli marksman arrives at Tynecastle as a replacement for Genero Zeefuik after the Dutchman returned to Groningen at the end of last season following a successful loan spell.

Neilson, who has already recruited young striker Gavin Reilly from Queen of the South and Polish free agent defender Blazej Augustyn, said: “I’m delighted to get him.

“We spent a lot of time over the summer speaking to Juanma and meeting him. I’m pleased to get it done. We thought it was going to get done a few weeks ago and we had some issues with the contractual situation in Greece, but we finally got it over the line. Craig [Levein, Hearts’ director of football] and Clive [Jagger], Juanma’s agent, did a lot of work on it.

“He’ll be a big asset for us. He brings physicality and he’ll hopefully bring goals as well. He’s a good player, technically very good, great in the air, and has good link-up play. And he’s a great character, so I’m pleased to get him.”

I want to contribute as much as possible to the team and score goals

Juanma Delgado

Delgado, whose full name is Juan Manuel Delgado Lloria, joins fellow countryman Miguel Pallardo in Gorgie after the midfielder recently signed a contract extension.

Delgado said: “I’m very happy to be here and very anxious to get started. I can’t wait to get the season under way and work hard.

“The facilities are great. It’s a big club and I can see that now. I’ve been particularly impressed by the family feeling at the club and that was apparent from the moment that I arrived.

“I want to contribute as much as possible to the team and score goals. I try not to speak about my own strong points, that’s for other people to judge.

“But I’m 100 per cent with the staff and players here and I’ll give them everything that they demand of me.”

Hearts’ first game back in the top flight, at home to St Johnstone, has been moved from Saturday, 1 August to 12:30pm on Sunday, 2 August to be televised live on BT Sport.

Celtic will now kick off the new campaign at home to Ross County at 12.30pm on the Saturday, with the game shown live on Sky Sports. Sky will also show Dundee United’s clash with Aberdeen at Tannadice at 3:30pm on the Sunday afternoon.

Motherwell’s trip to Inverness will also be moved to the Sunday if the Scottish Cup holders overcome Romanian side Astra in the second qualifying round of the Europa League. Lower-division clubs play in the first round of the League Cup that weekend.