Odel Offiah completes his move to Hearts after an agreement is reached with Brighton and Hove Albion

Defender ready to start his career at Tynecastle
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Odel Offiah has completed a move to Hearts on a season-long loan from Brighton and Hove Albion. He arrived in Edinburgh on Thursday to finalise the deal and could now make his debut in Sunday’s League Cup tie against Partick Thistle.

Offiah is a 20-year-old centre-back who can also operate and right-back and will provide competition in defence. Nathaniel Atkinson is Hearts’ only established right-back and Offiah is expected to push for that position initially. He came through Brighton’s youth system and has been sent to Scotland for first-team experience.

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He has already sampled first-team football in the English Premier League and Hearts believe he will strengthen their back line. “It’s great to get Odel up here and get the deal done,” head coach Frankie McAvoy told the club’s official website. “He’s a big, strong lad so I’ve no concerns about him being able to handle the physicality of Scottish football. More importantly, he’s a good football player and one who will give us even more options in terms of squad depth.”

Technical director Steven Naismith said: “We’ve added some real quality to the squad over the past couple of weeks and Odel is another piece of that jigsaw. He’ll bring versatility to our defence which is a real plus point, and with the attributes he possesses I know he’ll excel in any position he’s asked to play.

“It’ll be a whirlwind start for him but he’s here, will train with the team over the next couple of days with a view to being involved in Sunday’s Viaplay Cup game against Partick Thistle.”

Sporting Director Joe Savage said: “We’re really happy to get this deal done and welcome Odel to Hearts. Once again, we had the inconvenience of rival clubs trying to muscle in at the last minute but Odel was steadfast in his desire to come to Hearts, which says it all about our standing in Scottish football.

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“We’ve had a really good few weeks at the club in terms of recruitment and the action on the pitch getting started, and I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that I’m looking forward to watching Odel pulling on a Hearts jersey and helping the team to build on a positive start.”