Hearts in talks with New Zealand defender Tommy Smith

Edinburgh club plan to sign new centre-back

Tommy Smith of New Zealand is a signing option for Hearts.
Tommy Smith of New Zealand is a signing option for Hearts.

Hearts are in talks with the New Zealand international defender Tommy Smith as they seek cover following John Souttar’s latest injury setback.

Tynecastle officials have compiled a list of signing options and made contact with 30-year-old Smith, who is a free agent after leaving Sunderland.

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He is considering a move to Scotland and would offer Hearts assurance at centre-back. He can also operate at left-back.

Souttar suffered a relapse of his Achilles injury and is to undergo a scan to determine the extent of the problem. Hearts are hopeful it is not as serious as feared but are preparing to reinforce their defensive options.

Smith brings huge experience with 38 caps and two goals for New Zealand. He was born in England but later switched allegiance to the Pacific island.

He played every minute of New Zealand’s three group games at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa. They drew with Slovakia, Italy and Paraguay but exited the tournament at the group stage despite being undefeated.

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He joined Sunderland in January this year on a short-term deal, although he did not make an appearance before the coronavirus shutdown.

Smith has also played for Colorado Rapids and Ipswich Town, plus loan spells at Stevenage, Brentford and Colchester United.

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Hearts have already signed goalkeeper Craig Gordon and winger Jordan Roberts on permanent deals this summer. Another goalkeeper, Ross Stewart, also arrived on loan from Livingston.

Souttar’s injury is likely to force them into the market for a defender with their competitive 2020/21 campaign due to start in October. They also plan to sign another wide player, a central midfielder and potentially a striker.

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