Hearts transfers: Seven players now in as Steven Naismith's forward planning pays off

Costa Rican full-back swells Jambos’ ranks as squad modelling takes shape at Tynecastle

Hearts have not rested on their laurels on the back of finishing third in the Scottish Premiership last season, with the Jambos announcing their seventh signing of a busy transfer window so far.

On this occasion, the Tynecastle outfit have returned to Costa Rica for their latest signing by bringing in 23-year-old full-back Gerald Taylor. The defender is an international team-mate of Kenneth Vargas, who signed on a permanent deal after a successful loan spell last term.

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Taylor is also arriving on a season-long loan spell, from Deportivo Saprissa in his homeland, and Hearts described him as “one of his country’s rising stars, having become a mainstay at Costa Rica’s most successful domestic club and a regular for the national team”.

Taylor, who plays predominantly at right-back, is tall and athletic and impressed with Saprissa as they won the Liga Promerica title last season. Like Vargas, he has been away with Los Ticos for the Copa America, with the Costa Ricans exiting at the group stages despite drawing with Brazil and defeating Paraguay. Taylor came on in the last minute against Brazil and played the whole match against the Paraguayans.

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In addition to Taylor, Hearts have also reinforced their backline with the arrival of Brentford right-back Daniel Oyegoke on a three-year deal and Livingston left-back James Penrice, who will compete with Alex Cochrane for a place in the first team. Further up the pitch, playmakers Blair Spittal and Yan Dhanda have arrived from Motherwell and Ross County on free transfers, while Gambian forward Musa Drammeh came in from Sevilla last week. Goalkeeper Ryan Fulton was also signed from Hamilton Accies.

With a guaranteed run of group-stage fixtures in either the Europa League or Europa Conference League, Naismith was keen to get transfer business done early ahead of the domestic season starting on August 3 against Rangers. The head coach, who currently has his squad away at a warm-weather training camp in Tenerife, explained why he was so keen to add Taylor to his playing pool.

“A lot of work has been done on this deal so it’s fantastic that we’re now able to welcome Gerald to the club," explained Naismith. “You look at what Gerald has crammed into his career at such a young age – league titles, continental experience, international caps – and it’s clear to see that he is a winner.

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“His hard work, along with his talent, has got him to where he is today and I think the exciting thing is that there is more to come from him.

“Being an international team-mate of Kenneth is a bonus in that he will be able to help Gerald settle, and we’ll also give him time and the benefit of our experience to ensure that he continues his trajectory and becomes a success at Hearts.”

Hearts return to Edinburgh later this week and face Leyton Orient in a friendly at Tynecastle on Saturday ahead of facing Tottenham Hotspur next Wednesday in Gorgie.

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