By DARREN JOHNSTONE – Capital City Press
New Hearts striker Juanma Delgado has revealed how he made financial sacrifices and turned down a move to Bristol City to chase his dream at Tynecastle.
The Spaniard signed a three-year deal with Robbie Neilson’s side on Thursday after negotiating a complex release from Greek side Kalloni.
The 24-year-old had shaken hands on a new one-year deal with Kalloni but to annul the contract, Delgado waived cash he was due.
The former Levante trainee also agreed to personally pay his old employers a compensation fee should he eventually move to one of the top four leagues in Europe.
Describing himself like fellow countryman Fernando Torres, Delgado is not short of confidence and the 6ft 2in marksman reckons Tynecastle can be his launch pad to reach the English Premier League.
He said: “I’m convinced I can get there, I just want to start playing and scoring goals. I have no doubt I can reach the very top.
“I see Hearts as a great opportunity for myself to take a big step forward professionally.
“I’d love to be able to play in the top division in England because of my style of play. I’d love to be in a top league like the Premiership in the future but I see this as a great opportunity to be able to develop my football to be able to do that.
“It’s a long process and we have to see how things go.
“I spoke to Robbie and he was so enthusiastic about me coming to the club and developing with the club – that was important to me.
“There was a Championship club in England that were interested in me as well but I felt Hearts was the best option.
“When we analysed both options I felt Hearts was the best decision because I would have more playing time.
“I also like Robbie’s style of play, his mentality and his attitude to the game.”
Explaining the financial impact behind Delgado’s move, the player’s agent Clive Jagger, who also acted as his translator, said: “Juanma has forgiven salary he was owed to leave Greece.
“There is also a private agreement that Juanma will give them financial compensation if he goes to one of the top four leagues in Europe (Spain, Germany, Italy or England).”
Delgado notched seven goals in Greece last year and the forward has told the Hearts supporters he is similar to fellow Spanaird and former Chelsea striker Torres in style.
Delgado, who also sounded out Hearts midfielder Miguel Pallardo and 2012 Scottish Cup winner Suso Santana above his switch to Edinburgh, added: “Which player would I compare myself to? Fernando Torres. I am very strong, I’ve got quality and I can score goals.
“Torres is someone I have always admired, although I supported Real Madrid growing up.”