DONIS AVDIJAJ has revealed the chance to work with countryman Daniel Stendel was key to him sealing a move to Hearts.
The Germany-born Kosovo internationalist has become Stendel’s first signing after penning an initial six-month deal.
The 23-year-old attacker flew into Edinburgh on Monday for final talks after agreeing to terminate his contract with Trabzonspor on Friday.
Avdijaj joined the Turkish side last summer on a one-year agreement, which had the option of a further three years, but he has cut short his stay with the Super Lig outfit in a bid to kick-start his career in Scotland.
The former Germany youth forward is well known to Stendel thanks to a prolific spell coming through the ranks at Schalke 04, who reportedly inserted a £41 million release clause in his contract after apparent interest from Liverpool.
However, after subsequent loan spells with Sturm Graz – where he helped the Austrians secure Champions League qualification – and Roda JC, and a permanent switch to Willem II in the Netherlands, the versatile winger has become the first new recruit of the Stendel era at Hearts.
He said: “I’m really happy to be here. The important thing for coming to Hearts was the coach and I’m happy we can work together.
“I know him from before and as soon as I came here I was very happy because the people here are great, they are very helpful and I haven’t had that in every country I’ve been before.
“I had it in Austria but I don’t know this, where the people are so happy and lucky and try to help everyone. I like this mentality here and I’m happy to be here.
“I had some really good options. But, for me, it was important to be the player I can be and the coach knows me from before – and I know the coach from before.
“We had a talk and it was clear I wanted to work with him. He was the main guy for why I came.
“I’m really happy to work with him. The club has given me heart and I want to pay it back, especially to the coach.
“I can’t wait to show the people here who I am.
“I think, also, the team has quality. They are not in the place where they are normally and we have one way to go, everyone together.”
The Jambos, currently five points adrift at the foot of the Premiership, are hopeful of receiving international clearance in time for Avdijaj to be available for his debut against Ross County on Wednesday night.
The player added to Hearts TV: “My wish was to go somewhere where the fans want me, where the fans are happy I am here. I had the feeling not only about the club but also about the people in the city.
“It feels like all the city knows me even though I had not signed before and everyone wants me to come here and that feels great for me. That’s also why I chose to come here.
“I can see this is a family and I want to be part of this family.”