Nathaniel Atkinson jets into Edinburgh as Hearts' new signing gets UK work permit approved

Hearts’ latest signing Nathaniel Atkinson has arrived in Edinburgh ready to begin his Tynecastle career in earnest.

Monday, 10th January 2022, 1:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 2:18 pm
Nathaniel Atkinson has completed his move to Hearts. Pic: Heart of Midlothian FC
Nathaniel Atkinson has completed his move to Hearts. Pic: Heart of Midlothian FC

The Australian’s UK work permit has been approved and he has completed his move to Gorgie on a three-and-a-half year contract. He is expected to train with his new team-mates for the first time at Riccarton tomorrow.

The Hearts squad were given time off last week and are due to report back to their training base in the morning to begin preparations for the second half of the campaign. Atkinson, 22, arrives from Melbourne City to compete with Michael Smith for the right wing-back role.

"It took some time to get it all sorted with visas and such, but It's good to finally be here," he told the Hearts website. “I first heard about Hearts' interest about a month or two ago.

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“I had gotten to a stage in my career where I was ready to play in Europe, and fortunately Hearts were interested. It was a match made in heaven and things moved pretty quickly after that.”

Atkinson was an Olympic team-mate of the Tynecastle midfielder Cammy Devlin in Japan last summer and is viewed as a player who could develop into a full internationalist with the Socceroos.

Moving to Scotland is designed to accelerate that process. Comfortable at right-back in a four-man defence or at wing-back in a 3-4-3 system, his versatility, industry and crossing ability attracted Tynecastle scouts.

“I've known Cammy for about three years; first met in the junior Australian camps. We hit it off straight away; he's a bit of a rascal! It'll be good to see him again,” said Aktinson.

“A lot of Australians have come here, done well and had a great career out of it. I think that's pleasing and reassuring that this was the right move for me.”

He is an energetic and attack-minded full-back who was one of the most consistent performers in Australia’s A-League last year. His ambition is to play in Europe and Hearts moved quickly last month to agree a fee with Melbourne.

Atkinson made his aims clear. “Win as many trophies as possible and to play for the fans and enjoy myself. I think when you're happy and enjoying yourself, that's when your best football is played,” he stated.

“I'm so excited to play at Tynecastle. The fan culture is slightly different in Europe than Australia. I know that Hearts fans bleed for the club and fight for the players. I can't wait to be part of that.”

The defender is Hearts’ first signing since the January transfer window opened. The club are also keen to sign a versatile attacker who can play in their front three but will not rush into any deal.

They made an offer for the Japanese forward Tsuyoshi Ogashiwa but he is staying at his club, Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo, for now.

Hearts are willing to listen to offers for their French striker Armand Gnanduillet and he is expected to depart at some point before the transfer window closes.

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