Hearts sign Polish defender Blazej Augustyn

Blazej Augustyn. Picture: Twitter (jaroslaw kolakowski)

Blazej Augustyn. Picture: Twitter (jaroslaw kolakowski)

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Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson has made his first capture of the summer after luring Blazej Augustyn to Tynecastle.

The Polish defender will sign on at Tynecastle, subject to international clearance, after leaving Gornik Zabrze in his homeland.

The 27-year-old centre-half – who had previous stints at Bolton, Legia Warsaw and Italian outfits Vicenza and Catania – made 18 appearances for Gornik last season and scored two goals.

Augustyn takes Danny Wilson’s place in the Hearts squad after the club captain decided to invoke a contract clause and leave for free last month. He is now in talks with Rangers about a move back to Ibrox.

Augustyn, a towering central defender standing 6ft 3ins, was briefly with Bolton during 2006-07 before joining Legia Warsaw. A later spell at Catania gave him experience of Serie A before he returned to Gornik Zabre in 2013.

He is expected to partner Alim Ozturk in the centre of Hearts’ defence next season. Augustyn is the first addition to Neilson’s senior squad since the Championship title was won at the start of May.

Neilson wants to add two forwards, with Gavin Reilly’s transfer from Queen of the South still to be finalised. The Edinburgh Evening News revealed yesterday that Spanish striker Juanma is another on the list of signing targets.

Meanwhile, Hearts have recruited 18-year-old defender Jahmal Howlett-Mundle, who will join player development manager Jack Ross’s Under-20 squad.

The centre-back, who has spent nine years with Crystal Palace, has already set his sights on moving up to the first team.

“It’s been a long time coming and I couldn’t wait to get here and get started,” he told the Hearts website. “It should be a great experience and a great journey.

“I was here two months ago for a week and I had a great time. Everyone welcomed me really well. My family has come up with me now that everything is signed and sealed. The main reason I’m here is to continue my development and work with Hearts’ first-team.”

Ross said of the newcomer: “Jahmal’s got a great pedigree. We were fortunate enough to get him up to train with us at the end of last season and he did really well.

“He’s a good lad and was desperate to come up here and do well. He’s moved up here and even came up early so he could familiarise himself with the city and his way into training. All of these things show you that he’s really keen to make a good impression and do well. I’m looking forward to seeing him in action.”

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