Beni Baningime pens new Hearts deal as midfielder puts to bed transfer exit fears

Beni Baningime has pledged his immediate future to Hearts by signing a two-year deal to keep him at the club beyond the summer.

The midfielder was coming to the end of his previous contract and had been offered an extension several months ago by Tynecastle chiefs. The fact it had remained unsigned meant fans were worried a key man in the side who comfortably finished third was set to move on.

But the former Everton man began to make positive noises in the press, admitting the pre-contract signings of Blair Spittal, James Penrice and Yan Dhanda was promising and could have an influence on his decision. Then in a more recent interview he said he had made his decision and in the same breath made comments about next season.

Hearts have now confirmed the Congolese star has put pen to paper on a new X year deal. Baningime has been with Hearts for three seasons since moving from the Toffees but played no part in the second campaign due to a cruciate injury.

Manager Steven Naismith said: "I’m really pleased that we’ve got this sorted and Beni has committed his future to the club.

“I think everyone can see that he is now getting back to his best on the pitch, which was always going to take a bit of time given the rehabilitation process he had to go through.

“The exciting thing for me is that Beni is only going to get better. There is more to come from him and that bodes very well for the team heading into next season.”

Sporting director Joe Savage added: "It’s a real sign of intent ahead of another big season to get an established senior player like Beni to commit his future to the club.

“The impact he’s made since coming here has been huge, not just on the pitch but in the dressing room too, so we’re delighted he’s staying.

“It’s been a successful season and we want to build upon that for our next campaign. Keeping Beni is part of that and our supporters can rest assured that we’re working hard in the background to ensure that 2024/25 is another memorable campaign for Heart of Midlothian Football Club.”

Hearts have already announced that Peter Haring, Andy Halliday and Michael McGovern are moving on at the end of their deals.