Hearts 'move step closer to Yutaro Oda transfer' as Jambos start to tap into Japanese market

Hearts are now expected to finalise the signing of Japanese forward Yutaro Oda after an SFA exceptions panel gave the green light for the player to move to Scotland.
Hearts are very close to signing Yutaro Oda from Vissel Kobe.Hearts are very close to signing Yutaro Oda from Vissel Kobe.
Hearts are very close to signing Yutaro Oda from Vissel Kobe.

Oda, a 21-year-old who plays for Vissel Kobe in his homeland, can play anywhere across the front line and is viewed as a long-term project by the Hearts coaching staff. The Tynecastle outfit are said to have agreed a six-figure fee with the J-League team and the Edinburgh Evening News reports that the Scottish football authorities have told the Jambos that the player meets their eligibility criteria. Subject to a work permit application, Oda is set to clinch a move to Edinburgh in the coming weeks, with Hearts likely to spend a low six-figure fee for his services.

Hearts finished third in the cinch Premiership last season and are determined to replicate the feat this term and ensure group-stage European football. They made a sizeable profit from their participation in the Europa Conference League during the autumn with matches against Fiorentina, Istanbul Basaksehir and Rigas FS and therefore go into this transfer window with money to spend. Manager Robbie Neilson is keen to recruit next month and while Oda is earmarked as one for the future, they will also try to bolster the first-team squad.

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The Japanese market has been heavily tapped by Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou, with Yokohama F Marinos defender Tomoki Iwata likely to become his sixth signing from the J-League since taking over at Celtic 18 months ago. Hearts have also explored that route in recent years, with Japan Under-20 midfielder Ryotaro Meshino signing on loan from Manchester City during the 2019/20 campaign.

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