Orestis Kiomourtzoglou set to start his Hearts career after UK Home Office approval
Recent Hearts signing Orestis Kiomourtzoglou is ready to begin his Tynecastle career in earnest after the UK Home Office approved his working visa.
The German midfielder signed a three-year contract with the Edinburgh club back on August 28 but has been unable to play or train whilst awaiting the necessary documents.
Those have now been ratified, leaving Kiomourtzoglou free to start life with his new team-mates after more than two weeks in limbo.
He is in the club’s 25-man squad for the Europa Conference League, which means he could feature in the double coming up against Fiorentina.
He’ll also be available for selection on Sunday when Hearts travel to Fir Park to take on Motherwell along with fellow new signing Robert Snodgrass. Craig Halkett, however, will miss out after suffering a suspected recurrence of the hamstring injury which sidelined him for a month before the trip to Riga.
Kiomourtzoglo will be able to get up to speed at training during the international break over the next couple of weeks before Hearts return to a hectic two-games-a-week schedule.
A £350,000 capture from Dutch second division club Heracles Almelo last month, the 24-year-old is viewed as a signing with the potential to develop further in Scotland.
A former Germany Under-21 internationalist, Kiomourtzoglou carries a physical presence at 6ft 2in tall but is also a composed passer of the ball with the required energy to get around the middle of the pitch. He made 24 appearances in the Eredivise last season, scoring two goals.
“He’ll bring a real presence to our midfield and his style of play will be well suited to the system we implement here,” Robbie Neilson said last month. “We’re building a squad capable of challenging on two fronts – domestically and in Europe – and to have Orestis be a part of it is a big plus.”
With injuries and a packed schedule, getting back on track in the league will be easier said than done. Former Hearts player Allan Preston believes other members of the squad need to improve to allow the team to stay consistent in all competitions.
"The players that Hearts can bring in on Sunday need to step up," he said. "The likes of Gary Mackay-Steven and Nathaniel Atkinson will be back, as will Toby Sibbick. And add Robert Snodgrass to the equation as well.
"Hearts need that because they are going to the well Thursday-Sunday-Thursday-Sunday."