Hearts submit two offers for Sheffield Wednesday's Callum Paterson with some players set to leave Tynecastle

Hearts have submitted two offers for Sheffield Wednesday’s Callum Paterson as they hunt a fourth new signing of the January transfer window.
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With English defender James Hill on loan from Bournemouth and Japanese forward Yutaro Oda signed permanently from Vissel Kobe, Hearts hope to finalise the loan capture of Australian striker Garang Kuol before Friday’s Premiership match with St Mirren. Paterson would be next in line if they can agree a deal.

Wednesday are reluctant to let the 28-year-old leave this month without first signing a replacement. However, they know his contact expires in June and this would be their only chance to secure any kind of fee. Hearts have lodged two bids via sporting director Joe Savage as they strive to bring their former player back to Edinburgh, but an agreement is not yet in place.

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“There’s been no progress at the moment, the two sporting directors have spoken and we’ve put a couple of offers in. It’s a case of waiting now. Callum is their player and we need to respect that,” said the Tynecastle manager Robbie Neilson. “I was delighted with what we had before the window opened, adding to it is great. If we can get another two in [Kuol and Paterson] then fantastic. The squad is in a good place.”

Kuol’s loan deal should be finalised in the next 24 hours. “We’re just waiting on the paperwork,” said Neilson. “The two clubs have agreed, it’s just whether we can get it over the line. Hopefully it gets done. I’m delighted with it so hopefully we can get it done and completed over the next couple of days.”

Hearts will soon look at moving some players out to avoid carrying an oversized senior squad. “It’s about getting the players in then making a decision about who goes out,” said Neilson. “Probably a couple of the younger ones will go out on loan for development and then we’ll look at the senior ones later in the window.”

Hearts can move six points clear in third place in the Premiership with victory over St Mirren. Hill and Oda are both available for debuts. “I'm pleased to get the two of them in,” stated Neilson. “James comes with a bit of calibre from his time at Fleetwood. Our analyst actually worked with him down there and spoke very highly of him. The move to Bournemouth probably hasn't worked out as he would have liked but I think he will definitely bring quality to our defence. He's got physicality, pace, strength and quality on the ball.

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“Oda has obviously come in from Japan and even in training you can see that sharpness and directness he is going to bring. It might take him a bit longer to get up and running just because he hasn't played since the end of November. He hasn't trained with a group since then either so it might take a couple of weeks for him to get there.

Hearts want to bring Callum Paterson back to Scotland.Hearts want to bring Callum Paterson back to Scotland.
Hearts want to bring Callum Paterson back to Scotland.

“Like any player who comes in, we all want him to start the next game but we have to be careful not to put people in too early. I would expect him, over the next couple of weeks, to gradually get more game time.”

Further ventures into the Japanese market are likely for Hearts, who have already enjoyed decent value through their recruitment of Australians Cammy Devlin, Nathaniel Atkinson and Kye Rowles. “It's just a market you get value for money in,” said Neilson of Japan. “It's a very good level with some good players, some who we think we have an opportunity to get because of the value in them. A lot of them are very keen to come to Europe as well so it's very similar to Australia.

“Oda has played for Japan Under-21s and scored goals in the top flight. There's no doubt he will have the quality to play here. It's just trying to get him settled as quickly as possible. I'm pretty sure they will see the Celtic players in Japan and the ambition they will have to get to Europe. That probably helped with us bringing him in. When you go into a market you don't know, it's always good to measure it against players who have come over. The majority of Celtic players have come in and done very well, which tells us that players from that league can compete here as well.”

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At 20, Hill is eager for regular first-team football and arrives to fill Craig Halkett’s space in the Hearts squad. Halkett is out until next season with knee ligament damage and the young Englishman recruited to step in has stated he is ready for the challenge.

“He’s just desperate to play,” said Neilson. “I spoke to him last week before he agreed to come in and that was the key thing for him, getting game time in. He had that experience at Fleetwood where he had a season and a half of playing week in, week out. Now he is hoping to continue that. He has had that wee knock where he has had to step back a wee bit again, so it’s up to us to help him build back up.”

Hill is already familiar with Barrie McKay from their time together at Fleetwood. He and Robert Snodgrass also share the same agent and Hearts are confident he will fit in easily. “He knows Snoddy through his agent, he knows Barrie, he knows the analyst,” explained Neilson. “He’s settled in already, he’s a pretty lively character.” He also possesses a rather useful long throw-in. “Aye, it’s not been used for a long time, potentially it could be used.”