HEARTS today signed Dutch-Scottish midfielder Kenny Anderson from RKC Waalwijk on an 18-month contract.
A nominal fee was agreed between both clubs and the 22-year-old put pen to paper after spending the weekend in Edinburgh.
Jason Holt’s departure on loan to Sheffield United on Friday created a void in the Hearts squad which head coach Robbie Neilson wanted filled. Anderson, an attack-minded box-to-box midfield player, is seen as someone with development potential and signed a deal until June 2016.
His arrival is expected to be Hearts’ only business on the final day of the winter transfer window, which ends at midnight tonight. Unless there is an unexpected player exit, Neilson will proceed with the squad he has and try to secure the Championship title.
“I’m delighted to get Kenny on board,” Neilson told the Hearts website. “He’s a quality player, one who I believe will slot right into our side. I’m looking forward to working with him and I feel we will get the best out of him.”
Anderson was born in the Dutch town of Gorinchem to a Dundonian father and Dutch-Indonesian mother. He has represented Scotland at under-16 and under-17 level. He can play as a defensive midfielder but is more effective in an attacking role behind the strikers, where he likes to get forward and score goals.
He is a product of RKC Waalwijk’s youth system having joined the club as a ten-year-old. Despite living in Holland throughout his life, he has been a frequent visitor to Scotland and has family in the Edinburgh area.
In a previous interview charting his career, Anderson explained his upbringing. “I started in the youngest side of RKC with the aim of becoming a player in the first-team and after 11 years of hard work I finally reached my goal. So it’s a really good feeling to achieve that,” he said.
“I trained for the first-team when I was 18 in my last year as a youth player, but I wasn’t ready to play for the first-team, so I played matches with the youth side. Then RKC got promoted to the Eredivisie, but they didn’t have a second squad so I said to them, ‘if there’s no chance of playing in the first squad then I’ll go to another team to get minutes’.
“I went to Willem II in the Dutch First Division and I played in the second squad for them. After a year we became champions and I came back to RKC because they had a reserves team again. I did well in the reserves, I scored a lot of goals and was important to the squad. Then [coach] Erwin Koeman brought me into the first-team around the last six or seven matches. After that, I made my debut and then I scored in my first start.”
Anderson has often spent Christmas and New Year in Scotland with his father’s family. “When I was younger we used to go to Scotland a couple of times a year,” he said. “We used to go to see my grandma and my family at Christmas, but when I was about eight or nine my grandma passed away.
“But my sister works in Edinburgh now so I go over two or three times a year. I go over for Hogmanay, then in May after the season I always go for a week and, if it’s possible with the schedule, I’ll go during the season to visit my sister and my uncles.”