Hearts close in on Jonathan Toto deal

HEARTS are awaiting one final document relating to Jonathan Toto's background before beginning contract discussions with the Cameroonian trialist.

Club officials have received international clearance from football associations in France and Cameroon but have also requested clearance from Italy, where Toto played with now-defunct fourth division club AC Legnano.

Once the required documentation arrives, the 20-year-old can begin talks over a permanent deal. He has impressed manager Jim Jefferies in training and during a series of friendly appearances, most notably against Blackburn Rovers earlier this month.

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The Hearts manager has spent the intervening period investigating the career of a player who was born in Cameroon but holds a French passport and would therefore not require a UK work permit. Clearance from the Italian FA is the last piece of the jigsaw.

"There is an Italian side where he played as a young boy so we have to get clearance there," Jefferies told the Evening News. "The Cameroon side has come through and the French side we got first, so we're nearly there in terms of getting the clearance. Then we will talk to the agent and I'll have a chat with Sergejus Fedotovas and Mr Romanov to see what I think is the best way to take it forward.

"I'm not going to do anything until I get all that paperwork. The agent knows that and he's busily trying to get it. When that's put on my desk and I'm happy with it then I'll be able to discuss with the owners if there is a possibility of getting him."

Jefferies has not relinquished hope of recruiting another attacking midfield player but said he may have to wait until the January transfer window having thus far failed to persuade Kilmarnock to sell Craig Bryson.

"We've always said it was that striker and a midfield player who can get forward that would make us a decent squad," he said. "Even with the squad we have we're still looking not too bad.

"It has to be that attacking type because there's no point just taking a midfield player who isn't that type."

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