BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
JUANMA DELGADO is close to finalising a move to Japanese club V-Varen Nagasaki as Hearts begin their transfer window shake-up in earnest.
The bustling Spaniard is due in the Far East to undergo a medical with the second tier outfit before ironing out personal terms.
It is understood Juanma – who has 18 months left to run on his deal at Tynecastle – will sign a permanent deal, with the Jambos happy to cut their losses on the 26-year-old and remove him from the wage bill in order to fund January arrivals.
A statement on the V-Varen website yesterday suggested an agreement had already been struck, welcoming Juanma to the club for the 2017 campaign, however sources close to the talks have confirmed that was wholly premature.
Nevertheless, the player is expected to be offloaded this month, with the J2-League side looking his most likely destination.
Juanma was Hearts’ top-scorer last season, bagging 13 goals following his arrival from Greek side Kalloni. However, he found the net just four times in the second half of the season as his form dipped dramatically.
Previous head coach Robbie Neilson challenged him to display the desire and work ethic to win his place in the first-team this season following the summer arrivals of Conor Sammon, Robbie Muirhead, Tony Watt and Bjorn Johnsen, but was left unimpressed with his efforts.
He was farmed out on loan to Spanish second division outfit UCAM Murcia in August, however he has scored just three times for the side currently sitting second-bottom of the league.
Hearts have already seen Tony Watt return to Charlton Athletic this month, while further departures are expected in order to allow new boss Ian Cathro to put his own stamp on the side.