Hearts sign Australian midfielder but move for winger looks doubtful


Hearts manager Craig Levein has made Australian midfielder Oliver Bozanic his ninth summer signing but has cooled his interest in bringing back fans’ favourite David Milinkovic.

Globe-trotting internationalist Bozanic has inked a two-year deal, subject to international clearance, following a spell in his home with A-League side Melbourne City.

However, Levein’s hopes of signing Milinkovic, who scored six goals in 26 appearances on loan from Genoa last season, on permanent terms are fading due to the French-Serbian winger’s wage demands.

Hearts have agreed a six-figure transfer fee with the Italian side for the 24-year-old but negotiations with the player are proving more difficult amid reported interest from the English Championship.

Playmaker Bozanic, however, is delighted to have joined the growing band of Australians at Hearts and hopes a return to Britain can boost his bid to earn an international recall.

The seven-times capped player, who featured in defeats to the Netherlands and Spain in 2014 World Cup in Brazil, said: “It was an amazing experience, the pinnacle of my career playing in a World Cup and I hope to be back in the national team again one day – and I hope by coming to Hearts that can come true.

“I’m at the stage of my career that I really wanted to be back in Europe and Hearts have given me this great opportunity to play in Scotland. I’m looking forward to taking that chance.

“I arrived on Tuesday and was shown around the great stadium and learned about the history of the club. It’s amazing to be here and I can’t wait to get started.

“I would love to win trophies, that’s why we all play football and I hope I can do that at this club.”

Bozanic began his career with Central Coast Mariners before moving to Reading in 2007, where he was then loaned out to Woking, Cheltenham and Aldershot.

The Sydney-born player returned to the Mariners three years later and has also turned out for Swiss top-flight outfit Luzern, Melbourne Victory and Japanese side Ventforet Kofu.

He added: “I’ve played around the world so hopefully I can bring some of that experience from these different countries.

“I’m a box to box midfielder, I like to get forward and work hard and I hope I can do that this season.”

Bozanic also links up with fellow countrymen and new recruits Ryan Edwards and Ben Garrucio at Hearts.

Speaking to Hearts TV, he added: “Two other Aussies here I’m looking forward to playing them with and meeting up with all the team.”

Hearts manager Levein, who welcomes back the squad for pre-season training today, is also set the run the rule over Ali Crawford after the midfielder departed Hamilton following eleven years at New Douglas Park.

Ironically, 5ft 8in Crawford was freed by Hearts for being too small when he was just 15.

The 26-year-old is also thought to be attracting interest from Motherwell, Dundee, Dundee United and Blackpool.

Levein has already recruited Steven MacLean, Bobby Burns, Jake Mulraney, Olly Lee, Uche Ikpeazu, Zdenek Zlamal, Edwards and Garuccio, and is expected to complete the signing of Austrian defender Peter Haring.