Hearts to sign Adelaide United full-back Ben Garuccio

Hearts have agreed a deal to sign full-back Ben Garuccio from Adelaide United when his contract expires in the summer.

The Australian defender has agreed a three-year pre-contract agreement with the Edinburgh club and will link up with his new team-mates ahead of the start of the new season.

The 22-year-old has represented Australia at U20 and U23 level, and has been at Adelaide for two years after joining from Melbourne in 2016.

Garuccio told the club’s website: “I’ve got quite a few friends that have played in Scotland so I was able to get a lot of advice. A few of them have played at Hearts and under Craig Levein, so that was a huge help.

“They only had good things to say about the club.”

Left-back Garuccio will be a welcome addition to a Hearts squad that has lacked balance on the left-hand side.

He made 23 appearances so far this season – including successive red cards against Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne Victory late last year.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for me to join such a big club and I can’t wait to get over to Edinburgh and get started.

“I’ve been impressed with everything I’ve seen so far. Craig showed me around and just right from the word go I had a really good feeling about the club.

“It’s always nice when a manager takes the time to find out all about you and makes you feel wanted. Being able to communicate with him and understand exactly what he wants from me has been great and I’ve got a really good feeling.”

Garuccio is manager Craig Levein’s sixth signing of the summer, but the Hearts boss is set to further strengthen his squad this summer after a disappointing sixth-placed finish.

Chairwoman Ann Budge has said she was “reasonably optimistic” the club can wrap up deals to sign Steven Naismith and Demetri Mitchell following loan spells last season, while Bobby Burns, Jake Mulraney, Olly Lee, Steven MacLean and Uche Ikpeazu have already signed on ahead of the next league campaign.