Hearts' five-figure deal for Cameron Devlin explained as club reveal how they identified Australian midfielder
Hearts moved swiftly to agree a deal for Australian midfielder Cameron Devlin before he even played for new club Newcastle Jets.
The 23-year-old has agreed terms on a long-term contract at Tynecastle Park and is currently awaiting news on a UK visa application in order to travel to Scotland.
He only penned a two-year deal at Newcastle Jets after joining from Wellington Phoenix six weeks ago, but is poised to move on without a single appearance in New South Wales.
The Evening News has learned that Devlin’s Jets contract included a buyout clause for a fee which amounts to five figures for Hearts. Upon discovering that detail, Riccarton officials quickly submitted an offer to trigger the release of a player who recently played for Australia at the Olympic Games in Japan.
He is expected to add energy and composure to the midfield at Tynecastle once the necessary paperwork is completed.
“We’ve agreed a deal with the player and the club but there is still some paperwork that needs to get done,” said Robbie Neilson, the Hearts manager. “Obviously he needs to get a visa so he can come into the country.
“We’re still waiting on that because he’s been at the Olympics. He’s now had to go back to Australia and he’s had to isolate because he’s been abroad. Now he has to go apply for the visa, so it will still be a bit of time before we know if this deal will get done or not.
“We’re hopeful he’ll be able to come and train [without quarantine in the UK]. There are different levels to what they can do. They can either have to quarantine totally or they can come in, train and then go home. Then there’s the ones who are just free to go.”
Statistical analysts at Hearts first identified Devlin several weeks ago for his industry before alerting Neilson and Joe Savage, the club’s sporting director.
“We’re looking for someone in there who retains the ball well but also can compete, cover the ground, win tackles and pass forward,” explained Neilson. “The stats guys flagged him up then we watched him and we really liked him. We’ve got the deal done so I think he’ll do well for us.
“This deal has been going on for two months now so he should be worth the wait. We've been working in the background trying to get it sorted. We're delighted that we're nearly there, but we aren't there yet.”
After signing winger Josh Ginnelly and midfielder Beni Baningime on permanent deals this summer, Hearts see Devlin as another long-term investment. Continuity is central to their recruitment policy.
“We want to bring in players who will progress the club. We have good players here already so anybody coming in has to be at a really good level,” added Neilson.
"The difficulty is we are competing against English Championship clubs and teams from abroad. We are missing out on players to them because they can pay more money. We have to wait and get the ones we really want.
“We want to build continuity at the club as well. We have a good group here and we just want to add quality. It's hopefully longer-term deals so that, come next summer, it's not wholesale changes again.”