New Hearts signing Ryotaro Meshino has declared he aims to be a “star” for Hearts in the mould of Lionel Messi and Eden Hazard.
The Japanese attacking midfielder set his sights high after completing a season-long loan from Premier League champions Manchester City.
The 21-year old joined the Etihad side three weeks ago, just six minutes before the English transfer deadline, following a move from Gamba Osaka in his home city.
When asked if there is a player who he is similar to in style, he said: “Hazard. Messi. And I like Aguero.”
Speaking via his agent’s translation, he added: “I can receive the ball in tight spaces, and I like to make the difference in the final third, make assists and score goals.”
Meshino said: “Manchester City proposed to me several clubs. But they told me Hearts was the best club for me to play in Europe.
“I am happy to come here to Edinburgh and Hearts. I’ve never watched the Scottish league because we can’t watch the Scottish league in Japan. Two weeks ago, we watched a match at the stadium, so we’ve been here before.
“I couldn’t have imagined playing in Scotland. I felt good here, so I choose Hearts. In this year I want to play and adapt and be a star at the club.”
Meshino arrived at Edinburgh Airport on Friday morning, being welcomed by the club’s assistant coach Austin MacPhee, a Japanese speaker. The move has been in the pipeline for some time, with a work permit and visa holding the deal up.
Meshino, who scored six goals in 36 appearances for Gamba, will be in the squad for Saturday’s Ladbrokes Premiership encounter with Hamilton if international clearance comes through.
Hearts manager Craig Levein said: “I have to temper that he is a human being, he’s had a long flight. If he isn’t at his absolute best, then it won’t be long before he is.”
The former Scotland manager added: “He’s a very robust player, although he’s quite diminutive. He’s very strong, he is exciting because he likes to attack, he likes to dribble, he likes to shoot and he likes to score goals, and I quite like all those things as well.
“He is the type of player that we have been looking for, but probably couldn’t afford. I’m really excited at what he can bring to Hearts, and I think our supporters will be too.”
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