Hearts make Visa bid for Ghanaian midfielder Cletus Nombil

Hearts have applied for a UK work permit to sign the Ghanaian midfielder Cletus Nombil.

Saturday, 22nd June 2019, 6:30 am
Updated Saturday, 22nd June 2019, 7:30 am
Trialist Cletus Nombil training with Hearts at Riccarton

The process takes several weeks and there is no guarantee of a visa being granted, but the Edinburgh club are keen to recruit the 18-year-old.

He would join their reserve squad if the application is successful. Nombil does not hold a European passport so Hearts hope he can be issued a work permit on the grounds that he is an “exceptional talent”.

He impressed during a week-long trial at Riccarton in March this year and was invited back for pre-season training. The laboured work permit procedure means his future is uncertain for now.

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Government rules state that non-EU players must have played in 75 per cent of their country’s international matches during the previous two years to qualify to work in the UK. That does not apply to Nombil, who has never played at international level.

Hearts coaching staff see potential in the youngster, however it is far from a straightforward signing. The club must convince the authorities to award an “exceptional talent visa” or the player will be forced to look elsewhere for a new team. He was contracted to the Ghanaian Premier League club Dreams FC but spent most of last season trying to secure a contract in Europe. A loan move to Czech club Sparta Prague was intended to lead to a permanent transfer until visa problems scuppered that agreement.

Nombil headed to Sweden in February for a trial with AIK Stockholm before arriving in Edinburgh hoping to earn a deal with Hearts. He normally functions in central midfield but played wide left for Hearts in a bounce game against Queen of the South in March.