Date: 6th May 2008 at 1:06pm
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Controversial striker Mauricio Pinilla has surprisingly signed a three-year deal with Hearts after they exercised their option to own the player outright following on from his loan spell from Italian club Inter Milan.

Pinilla has hardly kicked a ball for the Hearts first team in the two years he’s spent at Tynecastle, and it was universally accepted that we’d seen the last of him, especially since the latest news regarding the player all but said he would be on his way in the summer.

So this news obviously comes as a major surprise, and I must admit I really am struggling to see where Hearts are coming from on this one. Pinilla was reportedly having his £12,000 per week wages being paid jointly by Inter and Hearts, but his new deal is supposedly on similar terms, meaning that Hearts are now likely to be splashing out much more than they were, even despite the fact that the new deal is said to be more ‘performance-related’.

I wonder if the club are simply looking to make a quick profit by selling him on as soon as anyone takes an interest? Bit like they did with say Rudi Skacel when they made him a permanent signing? The only problem here though, is that Pinilla hasn’t played for months and will no doubt be considered by many as severely damaged goods. Is anyone likely to take a punt on him? Not in the immediate future I’d suggest.

With that in mind then you’d have to imagine that Pinilla will indeed be part of the Hearts first team squad for at least the early part of next season, but for a club who have openly admitted they’d like to trim their wage bill, the signing of Pinilla is surely very strange, not to mention ill-advised? Of course, there is the possibility that next season could finally be the year that this player decides to get his finger out and prove to everyone what he is capable of. This could lead to some on-field success for Hearts in the short-term and eventually net them a tidy profit in the transfer market, but gambling on this happening given his recent past is surely a hell of a gamble.

It’s just another decision in a long list made by the Romanovs that have everyone scratching their heads. It would obviously be great to see Pinilla consistently playing for Hearts and finding his form, but on the whole this would seem like yet another reason to doubt the abilities of those running our club. As if we really needed one!