Hearts striker Juanma’s proposed move to Waasland-Beveren has fallen through after the Spaniard failed to agree personal times with the Belgian top-flight outfit.
The 25-year-old was given permission by the Tynecastle outfit to hold face-to-face talks with Stijn Vreven’s side at the weekend and despite being offered a two-year deal with the option of a further 12 months, he could not agree over wages.
The Belgian Jupiler Pro League side have now turned their attention to Guingamp’s Danish striker Ronnie Schwartz.
Juanma joined Hearts on a three-year deal from Greek outfit Kalloni last summer but has been told he is free to find another club.
The Valencia-born player’s work rate was recently criticised by head coach Robbie Neilson, who said: “He’s not been doing great in training and games.”
The summer arrivals of Tony Watt, Conor Sammon, Robbie Muirhead and Bjorn Johnsen has also forced the marksman further down the pecking order.
Neilson, meanwhile, has hailed Don Cowie as a leader on and off the pitch after the midfielder inspired the team to a 5-1 win over Inverness at the weekend.
The 33-year-old, who was handed the captain’s armband after defender Alim Ozturk was demoted to the bench, scored a brace and set up two more against his former club.
The ex-Watford and Cardiff City playmaker was then given a rapturous round of applause when he was substituted in the second half.
Neilson said: “I thought he was magnificent, I took him off to get a standing ovation from the crowd because he definitely deserved it.
“When we brought Don in last January, he wasn’t fit – he had a little problem with his calf muscles – but over the summer he rested and you can see the quality he has.
“Don is one of the leaders in the group, not just on the pitch but on the training ground as well. He sets a real tone for the way things are done here.
“He’s got a group of players he works with in training and they all buy into what he does and he definitely is leading by example.”
Meanwhile Hearts goalkeeper Jack Hamilton and defender Callum Paterson have both named in the Scotland squad for next month’s World Cup qualifier in Malta.
Left-back Faycal Rherras has been called up to the full Morocco squad for matches against Albania and Sao Tome and Principe, while midfielder Arnaud Djoum has earned his maiden Cameroon call-up for matches against Gambia and Algeria
Rherras tweeted: “Proud to be called into the Morocco national team.”