Hearts to dip into Irish transfer market again
Manager Robbie Neilson and sporting director Joe Savage see the Irish market as a source of untapped potential.
Younger players hungry for an opportunity in British football appeal to Hearts following the £175,000 capture of 25-year-old McEneff.
He arrived on Monday along with on-loan Coventry City winger Gervane Kastaneer as the Edinburgh club increased their number of January signings to four.
Hearts believe they got good value for money in McEneff and will look to both Northern Ireland and the Republic for players again in the months ahead.
“We feel that the Irish market is a good one for us. We will definitely look to use it again,” Neilson told the Evening News.
“It’s a great market for us because there are players who have played a lot of games at a younger age. They also have good attitudes and it’s easier for them to settle in over here.
“It’s a similar type of football in Ireland to what we have in Scotland. There are hungry boys over there who want to come over, do well, work hard and progress their career.
“That’s what we saw in McEneff and we’re delighted to get him in. We had a few targets in that central area and he was one of them. To get him over the line is brilliant.
“There were a couple of loan options for midfield but I spoke to Joe and Ann Budge about trying to bring someone in for the long-term, not just a stop-gap signing. McEneff is definitely that.
“He went to Spurs as a kid and then came back to Ireland. He’s done the hard yards, first of all at Derry and then down to the Republic of Ireland with Shamrock.
“He’s won leagues, won cups and played in Europe so he’s got that experience. He is 25, a really good age for us and has played a lot of games.”
McEneff and Kastaneer are in contention to make their Hearts debut this Friday against Ayr United.