HEARTS head coach Robbie Neilson has recruited Prince Buaben as his sixth summer signing after the central midfielder signed a one-year contract.
In moving to Tynecastle after leaving Carlisle United, the 26-year-old has officially been reunited with former Dundee United team-mate Morgaro Gomis – a partnership that helped the Tannadice club lift the Scottish Cup in 2010.
Buaben, who spent the end of last term on loan at Partick Thistle, impressed Neilson in pre-season friendlies against Dinamo Bucharest, Hamilton and East Fife. He joins Gomis, Neil Alexander, James Keatings, Alim Ozturk and Soufian El Hassnaoui in switching to Hearts.
Neilson, who is also hoping to capture released Crystal Palace forward Osman Sow and has been linked with freed Rangers goalkeeper Scott Gallacher, said: “It’s great that Prince has put pen to paper. He’s been at training for the last two weeks and he’s played a few games for us.
“He’s looking good and he’s a top player. He’s played in the SPL for a long time and he’s played in England at a very high level so I’m pleased to get him. He gives us a bit of strength in there. We’ve got some good options now in the middle of the field. He’s a good character as well.
“He hadn’t done a pre-season after he finished up last season so I just wanted to see where he was and he’s a fit guy.
“If this is the condition he’s in, having only trained for just over a week, then I’m looking forward to seeing what we can get out of him in two or three weeks’ time.”
New Hearts defender Ozturk, meanwhile, admits he is looking to emulate former team-mate Mark de Vries and become a club legend.
Following his arrival in 2002, Dutch striker De Vries immediately endeared himself to the supporters after netting four goals in a memorable 5-1 defeat of bitter city rivals Hibs.
Turkish centre-half Ozturk, who joined earlier this summer from Trabzonspor, was a team-mate of the towering forward at SC Cambuur in the Netherlands.
As he prepares to make his home debut in tonight’s pre-season visit of Manchester City, the 21-year-old said: “I played in Holland with Mark de Vries and he told me all about his experiences with Hearts when we travelled to games.
“A few years ago I came over for a weekend with Mark and a few of our Cambuur team-mates and he took us to an Edinburgh derby.
“He told us how big a game it was and I heard that he’d scored four times against Hibs.
“The fans were amazing that day; we walked up the street, they saw Mark and everyone started chanting. I thought they were crazy!
“I hope that in five or ten years’ time that I could get a similar reaction if I came back. That would mean I had done well and that’s what I want.”