Hearts get new signing as Beni Baningime completes move from Everton on long-term contract

Hearts have completed their fourth summer signing with the capture of midfielder Beni Baningime from Everton.

Beni Baningime has joined Hearts from Everton.

The 22-year-old signed a three-year contract and could make his debut in Saturday’s opening Premiership match against Celtic at Tynecastle Park.

He arrived at Riccarton on Thursday morning for a medical and talks after Hearts submitted a formal offer to Everton. Baningime was not in the plans at Goodison Park under new manager Rafa Benitez and is keen to restart his career having been with the Merseyside club since the age of nine.

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Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, he is known as a dynamic and aggressive central midfielder with good technical ability. He previously spent time on loan at Derby County and Wigan Athletic but is eager to establish himself in Scotland.

Hearts coaching staff will now make a decision on whether to throw him in from the start against Celtic or name him on the substitutes’ bench.

Speaking to the club website, manager Robbie Neilson said: “It’s great to get the deal done and Beni signed up.

“He’s been at Everton for a long time and has developed to a really high standard. He’s had experience of playing in England’s top flight, which is fantastic, but most important for me is that he has shown a real desire to come to Hearts and that’s a good sign.

“There is no denying Beni is a talented player and I’m really looking forward to working with him.”

Hearts sporting director Joe Savage explained that the player’s background and grounding in England was part of the attraction.

He said: “Both sides were really keen to get the deal done which is always a positive.

“Beni has had a great schooling at Everton. He’s won the Premier League 2 twice with David Unsworth’s team and I know there is a really high standard down there, but he’s now ready to play first-team football and we can give him that platform.

“We’ve stressed that we want to sign quality over quantity and in Beni I think we’ve got ourselves a quality player with the potential to do really well for Hearts.”

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