Hearts make their move to sign a third Australian ahead of next season

Hearts will add a third Australian to their squad this summer if they can finalise a deal for the Central Coast Mariners centre-back Kye Rowles.

The Edinburgh club are keen to sign the 23-year-old having brought his Australian Olympic team-mates Cammy Devlin and Nathaniel Atkinson to Tynecastle last season.

Both men adapted quickly to Scottish football and Hearts are ready to recruit from the A-League again. Rowles is a central defender who can also operate at full-back and is regarded as one of the league’s most promising players.

He is currently travelling to Qatar with Australia’s senior international squad for the forthcoming World Cup play-off against United Arab Emirates. Although contracted to CC Mariners until 2023, he is keen to move to Europe.

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Hearts will need to pay a transfer fee to sign Rowles. They are losing John Souttar to Rangers this summer, with loanees Alex Cochrane and Taylor Moore returning to Brighton and Bristol City respectively. Defensive reinforcements are needed for season 2022/23 as the club prepare for European competition.

English centre-back Joe Wright has an open invitation to train at Riccarton following a year out with injury. Hearts officials compiled a list of other targets and Rowles’ name features prominently.

As a teenager, he came through the Football Federation Australia Centre of Excellence before joining Brisbane Roar. He spent a year there and moved on to CC Mariners in 2017.

He has made more than 100 appearances for the New South Wales club, winning the Mark Viduka award for his performance in last year’s Australian Cup final despite Mariners losing to Melbourne Victory. His team-mates there include Oliver Bozanic and Jason Cummings.

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Hearts are targeting Australian defender Kye Rowles of the Central Coast Mariners Picture: Ashley Feder/Getty

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Kye Rowles in action for the A League All Stars against Barcelona in Sydney last week. Picture: Jason McCawley/Getty
Kye Rowles in action for Central Coast Mariners. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty