Hearts land new striker after being left frustrated in their pursuit of Walsall target man

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Hearts manager Robbie Neilson has fought off competition from the English Championship to make French striker Armand Gnanduillet his second January signing.

The 28-year-old has penned an 18-month deal at Tynecastle, subject to international clearance.

Gnanduillet, who started his career at Le Harve in his native France, has spent the majority of the last eight years in English football after moving to Chesterfield in 2013.

Armand Gnanduillet signs for Hearts | Hearts news
Gnanduillet has experience of British football at Blackpool and Chesterfield (pic: heartsfc.co.uk_

In the second of two spells at Blackpool, Gnanduillet scored 18 goals in 36 appearances for the Seasiders last season before moving to Turkish outfit Altay.

However, the 6ft 4” marksman struggled to replicate that form in Turkey, notching two goals in 15 appearances before leaving the club last month.

Neilson had made it clear that he wanted to snap up a target man this month and has landed Gnanduillet after attempts to sign Walsall striker Elijah Adebayo were unsuccessful.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s Championship clash at Raith Rovers, Neilson, who has already signed winger Gary Mackay-Steven and remains in the hunt for a midfielder and defence, said: “It’s no secret we’ve been looking for a striker and I’m delighted to get Armand in because he ticks all of the boxes.

“He’s quick, strong and has a real presence about him and, of course, he can score goals.

“There was a lot of interest in him elsewhere from some big clubs so to get him signed up is a bit of coup.

“He’ll bring something different to the team and I’m looking forward to working with him.”

Neilson made a move for Gnanduillet after Hearts came up against stiff resistance in their  attempts to sign Walsall forward Adebayo.

However, Hearts could now wait until the summer to try and sign the player as a free agent.

Even though it is thought that Hearts had agreed personal terms with Adebayo, Walsall were refusing to budge over their valuation of the forward.

The Saddlers even released a statement on Sunday denying the club had agreed to sell the player.

It read: “That there is no truth whatsoever that we have agreed terms with any club to sell Elijah Adebayo.”

Speaking at the weekend, Neilson said: “He (Adebayo) has been the number one target for us for a while now. Ultimately, he is their player. 

“He scored two goals again on Saturday. We just need to see if we can come to some agreement.”