Hearts in talks to bring Brighton's Odel Offiah to Tynecastle Park
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Hearts are in talks over a season-long loan deal for the Brighton and Hove Albion defender Odel Offiah. Negotiations are ongoing as Tynecastle officials move to strengthen the club’s back line and give the 20-year-old some vital first-team experience.
Offiah can play both centre-back and right-back and would offer competition in those positions, similar to the loan agreement which brought James Hill to Hearts from Bournemouth in January. He came through the Brighton youth system and is contracted there until summer 2024, however he needs first-team games to develop.
Hearts want right-back competition for Nathaniel Atkinson as well as another option to cover central defence this season. Craig Halkett should return from a cruciate ligament injury in the coming weeks, with Frankie Kent and Kye Rowles paired together to start the season.
At 6ft 2ins tall, Offiah carries a physical presence and is regarded as an aggressive defender who likes to distribute the ball from the back. He was born in England to Nigerian parents and is therefore eligible to represent both countries at international level.
He is the nephew of the former England and Great Britain rugby player Martin Offiah and, having played for Brighton at under-18 and under-23 level, he is eager to progress his career in a competitive environment.
Hearts have signed six players already this summer and will hope to conclude negotiations to make Offiah their seventh. Goalkeeper Michael McGovern, defender Frankie Kent, midfielder Calem Nieuwenhof, plus forwards Alex Lowry, Kyosuke Tagawa and Kenneth Vargas have all arrived in Gorgie so far.