Hearts plan to solve their left-back problem by signing Manchester United’s Demetri Mitchell on loan.
A deal until the end of the season has been agreed by the clubs and the 20-year-old is expected to make his Tynecastle debut against Hibs in the Scottish Cup later this month.
He will be Craig Levein’s first signing of the January transfer window, with a new attacking midfielder and a forward still coveted by the Edinburgh club before the transfer window closes at the end of the month. Mitchell has one senior appearance to his name after Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho gave him his debut against Crystal Palace last May.
He is almost 6ft tall with good pace and a strong left foot. Born in Manchester, he joined the United youth academy aged ten and is an England youth internationalist at under-16, under-17, under-18 and under-20 level. He won the European Under-17 Championships with his country in 2014. Initially a left winger, he reverted to left-back last season with United’s Under-23 side.
Several English clubs declared an interest this month but, after visiting Riccarton and Tynecastle in the last few days, Mitchell opted to gain more first-team experience in Scotland. His arrival should provide Levein and the Hearts coaching staff with some comfort after constant problems in the left-back department this season.
Ashley Smith-Brown joined on a season-long loan from United’s rivals, Manchester City, in July but has suffered persistent injuries. The Polish player Rafal Grzelak hasn’t adjusted to Scottish football since arriving last summer.