Hearts boss discusses process to get work permit for Man City’s Ryotaro Meshino
Craig Levein is optimistic about Hearts’ prospects of being granted a work permit for Manchester City midfielder Ryotaro Meshino.
The 21-year-old joined the English Premier League champions from Japanese side Gamba Osaka earlier this month but will be loaned back out to get game-time in order to continue his development.
Hearts assistant coach Austin MacPhee has forged a link with City through Northern Ireland scout Andy Cousins and this has created an opportunity whereby Meshino could spend the upcoming season in Edinburgh.
A deal has not yet been agreed with the fleet-footed midfielder, but he was at Tynecastle to watch last weekend’s match against Ross County and Hearts are optimistic that if they are successful in their application for a work permit then they will have a good chance of securing his services on loan.
“Basically you make your appeal to the panel and the decision is made while you’re still in the building,” said manager Levein. “You have to make an appeal for players who don’t have the required caps. For Scotland, the country that he’s coming from has to be in the top 75 of the FIFA rankings. Japan are 33 or something like that. Then after that’s it’s about whether there is value in bringing him to the league. For me it’s a no-brainer. When you see the kid play, wow. He’s really talented. So I’m hopeful.
“We’re going through this process, but the kid and his agent haven’t actually said ‘we’re definitely coming here’, so we’re trying to pre-empt the situation and have the thing ready to go because there isn’t an awful lot of time.
“With the Man City connection, they are looking to put one or two players out to Scotland before they get them down in to England. This one’s a little bit more difficult to do so I don’t want to make a big thing of it because it might be the case that it doesn’t happen.”
Levein is already content with his midfield options after adding Loic Damour and Glenn Whelan over the past week, but he views the opportunity to land a player of Meshino’s calibre as a “wildcard” option that is too good to pass up. “I am really happy with where we are and we are not right at the end of the window,” he said. “I am not planning on doing much more other than securing the work permit for Meshino. If we do or don’t, then we won’t be doing much more.”