Hearts sign versatile defender Toby Sibbick from Barnsley after Hibs came close to signing him

Toby Sibbick, who has returned to Hearts on a three-and-a-half year deal from Barnsley after Hibs came close to signing him, says he has a lot more to offer this time round at Tynecastle Park.

The versatile 22-year-old defender has joined Hearts for an undisclosed fee, subject to international clearance.

It was widely reported that Hibs had a bid rejected by Barnsley earlier this month, and the player had previously attracted interest from former boss Jack Ross.

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Toby Sibbick is back at Tynecastle, this time on a three and a half year deal. Picture: Hearts FC

Sibbick, however, knows all about Hearts after his previous loan spell in 2020, when he made an impressive debut against Rangers under Daniel Stendel.

But injury in his next outing against St Johnstone ruled him out before glandular fever and a Covid-curtailed season prevented him from making any more appearances in a maroon jersey.

The Englishman is two years older and wiser this time round and is now back to full fitness.

“It’s so good to be back,” he told Hearts TV. “I feel like fans only saw a glimpse of what I can offer. I can offer a lot more to this team. I can't wait to get back out there.”

Toby Sibbick is back at Tynecastle, this time on a three and a half year deal, after a previous loan spell in 2000

Sibbick is the third signing made by Robbie Neilson during this transfer window, following Australian wing-back Nathaniel Atkinson and the the arrival of Everton striker Ellis Simms on loan.

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He came through the ranks at AFC Wimbledon, becoming a mainstay in their first team, which led to a move to Barnsley in 2019. After his brief spell at Hearts, he had another loan spell at Belgian side Oostende and has since returned to Barnsley.

Neilson said: “He’s someone we’ve been aware of for a while and he obviously has past links to the club.

“We’re getting a talented and versatile player who’s had even more experience at a high level down south, so hopefully we can reap the benefits of that.”

Asked about being linked with Hibs, Sibbock confirmed that his feelings for Hearts meant that was a non-starter and always felt he would be back in Gorgie one day.

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“There were just links,” Sibbick laughed. “I always felt like I would come back to Hearts. This is a great club.

“I’ve been linked with them [Hibs] twice now but I don’t think I could do it to such a great club. The fans have taken to me so well and they’ve always sent me positive messages on social media.

“When I did get linked with Hibs, my DMs were full of Hearts fans saying please don’t go and telling me to come home.

“So I came home and I’m delighted. I’m not too sure if Hibs actually made an offer. The two clubs [Hibs and Barnsley] were talking about something but if it ever came about, I would’ve said no.

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“This is home for me.”

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