Hearts sporting director Joe Savage said: “We know the areas we want to strengthen and our fans can rest assured that we’re continuing to work away to make sure that this is a successful transfer window for the club.”
James Hill (left), Yutaro Oda (centre), and Garang Kuol (right) have joined Hearts
Hearts have signed Japanese forward Yutaro Oda and secured loan deals for James Hill and Garang Kuol, with a potential move for Callum Paterson close.
Oda arrives from Vissel Kobe on a three-and-a-half-year deal, with the 21-year-old having played in Japan’s top-flight, the Asian Champions League and featuring for the Japan U21s.
Hearts boss Robbie Neilson said: “He’s got a lot of great attributes but the exciting thing is that he’s still young and there will be more to come from him, so we’ve got a huge part to play in developing him.
“He’s very quick, very direct and technically very good. He’ll bring a lot to the team and we’re all looking forward to working with him.”
Sporting director Joe Savage added: “We’ve made no secret of our willingness to focus on markets across the world in an effort to identify talent and value for money.
“In Yutaro, we feel we’ve got both of those things. He is someone we had been looking at for a while and, thankfully, all the pieces fell into place to allow us to bring him to the club.”
Hill joins Hearts on loan
Hill, 21, came through the ranks at Fleetwood Town and has been capped four times for England U20s
The defender then moved to current parent club Bournemouth last January, and is a welcome addition for Neilson who is without key players this season due to injury, including defender Craig Halkett.
“We’ve been unlucky with injuries in defence, and while the guys in there have been performing really well it was always high on our priorities list to get another defender in,” said Neilson.
“James has fantastic experience of playing at a high level down south and with England U20s and U21s and I’m sure that will stand him in good stead when the time comes for him to play for Hearts.”
Savage added: “James was a man in demand and we’ve managed to beat off a lot of competition to get him, so we’re really pleased.
“Being able to bring in players from England, particularly an England U21 internationalist like James, shows how highly regarded this club is held in footballing circles and that’s credit to all of the hard work that’s done on and off the park at Hearts.
“We know the areas we want to strengthen and our fans can rest assured that we’re continuing to work away to make sure that this is a successful transfer window for the club.”
Kuol joins on loan from Newcastle
Hearts have also finalised the signing of teenage Australia international forward Garang Kuol on loan from Newcastle.
The 18-year-old, who played for the Socceroos at the World Cup in Qatar, visited the Jambos’ training base last week with a view to moving to Edinburgh to accelerate his development after joining the Magpies this month from Central Coast Mariners in his homeland.
Another target Hearts are homing in on is their former player Callum Paterson, although it remains to be seen if Sheffield Wednesday are willing to let him leave this month.
“The two sporting directors have spoken so we’re just waiting for a response,” said Neilson. “Callum’s contract is up at the end of the season so we’ve been speaking to him about his future. It’s down to Sheffield Wednesday now.”
Who will be on the move this winter? The January transfer window closes at midnight in Scotland on Tuesday January 31, 2023.
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