Craig Levein makes double signing as Hearts bid to plug gaps

Ross Callachan: Dream move
Ross Callachan: Dream move
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Hearts have bolstered their attacking options with the signing of winger Manuel Milinkovic, who joined Ross Callachan as a final day acquisition.

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It was a move teased throughout the final day of the transfer window, with the 23-year-old French-born Serbian posting social media updates as he headed towards the capital. But it was late last night before the paperwork was finalised with parent club Genoa and the loan deal was eventually wrapped up.

The player, who can also play through the middle as an advancing midfielder, was the subject of interest from several European clubs but, flying into Edinburgh yesterday morning, he made it clear that spending the season at Hearts was his preferred option as he seeks regular first-team football.

Born in France, he started his career in Serbia, with Rad and BASK Beograd, before moving to Italy in 2015. After a brief spell with AS Roma, he spent time with Serie B sides Ternana Calcio and Salernitana. He signed for Genoa in 2016 but has been farmed out on loan to Virtus Lanciano and Messina and was expected to spend this term with Foggia, but that move has not worked out, giving Hearts the chance to pounce and offer him a year to sample British football. The attacker was the 
second signing for Hearts since the appointment of Craig Levein as manager. Earlier in the day Ross Callachan was first to put pen to paper, signing a two-year deal, which also includes an option to extend should things work out.

The midfielder, also 23, made the switch from Raith Rovers and revealed that it was a fairytale move. “I grew up watching Hearts and for them to come in with an offer for me, it’s a dream come true really.

“In terms of what the fans can expect, I’d say I’m quite an energetic player, a box-to-box midfielder. I like to get around the park and put myself about a bit as well.”

With 200 appearances under his belt for the Kirkcaldy club, Callachan believes he is ready for the step up. “I’ve played a lot of games for my age and I feel now is the right time to step up and I’m ready to challenge myself here.”

The childhood Hearts fan has been with Raith Rovers since he was a teenager and was a key performer for the Fife side as they forced a replay in their Scottish Cup tie with Hearts last season and then ran them close at Tynecastle.

But while there were new arrivals, there were also departures as Levein sought to move out some of those who were unlikely to play a pivotal role this season.

As Callachan arrived at Tynecastle, 20-year-old midfielder Dario Zanatta moved in the opposite direction. The Canadian, who has made 17 first-team appearances, signed a Development Loan with Raith Rovers that will allow him to combine League 1 football with games for Hearts U-20s.

And, while the door remains open for Zanatta, defender Jordan McGhee joined Falkirk on a permanent deal.

The 21-year-old had returned to Gorgie this summer after a season on loan at Middlesbrough but, despite making 73 first-team appearances for Hearts since his debut in 2013, he was deemed surplus to requirements, with several defenders ahead of him in the pecking order.

He will now aim to kickstart his career at Championship title challengers Falkirk.

READ MORE - What Hearts will be getting in new signing Ross Callachan