Robbie Neilson is relishing the prospect of adding Juwon Oshaniwa to his Hearts squad after confirming that a deal for the Nigerian internationalist is imminent.
The Tynecastle club have been “desperate” to land the 24-year-old left-back since learning of his availability following his departure from Israeli club FC Ashdod. The player has been granted a work permit and Hearts are hopeful of finalising a three-year contract for a player who represented the Super Eagles at last summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
The African will act as a ready-made replacement for Adam Eckersley, who departed at the end of last season, and Neilson believes his team are on the brink of pulling off a “fantastic” signing.
“We’re hopeful of getting something done in the next few days,” he said. “We had to get a work permit sorted out and that’s now been cleared by the SFA, which is great. It opens the door for us to try and get him in.
“It’s now just a case of trying to get him in the country. You can’t say it’s signed, sealed and delivered until he’s actually here, but he’s keen to come and we’re desperate to get him, so hopefully we can get something tied up.
“There’s been a lot of hard work put in by myself, Craig Levein, John Murray and his agent. The whole club has been desperate to get him in, speaking to lawyers and things like that. He’d be a real coup for us. He knows the club. His agent already has a couple of players at the club and he’s spoken to them about us so he wants to come. If we can get him, it would be fantastic.”
Another player in the frame for a move to Tynecastle is Mergim Bajraktari, a Swiss-born Albanian who played as a trialist in Dublin last night.
Neilson will take another look at the 22-year-old in Saturday’s friendly against Shelbourne as he seeks to add defensive back-up to his squad. “He did alright, he was decent,” said the head coach. “This was our first look at him. We’ll get another look at him on Saturday. He’s a good player and he’s definitely got qualities but it will just depend on what we can do budget-wise. He can play anywhere across the back four or in midfield. He’s one of the boys that would give us cover. We’ll look at him over the next few days.”
Meanwhile, Hearts’ glamour friendly at home to Everton is to be rearranged as a result of a clash with Hibs’ Petrofac Cup match at home to Rangers. The Tynecastle side had hoped to welcome Roberto Martinez’s team to Gorgie on Saturday, July 25. But since scheduling the fixture, it has emerged that their city rivals will be hosting the Ibrox match in a competitive match on the same day, albeit with a lunchtime kick-off. Police have ruled that the two matches cannot take place in the Capital on the same day, so Hearts must reschedule their friendly. A new date is set to be announced imminently.