Hearts have announced the signing of Australia international and Newcastle United winger Garang Kuol on loan until the end of the season.
Kuol only joined Newcastle on New Year’s Day, having agreed a switch from Central Coast Mariners in September but manager Eddie Howe wants the 18-year-old to get game time before competing for a place in the first team squad at St James’ Park.
That opened the door for Hearts to bid to take the player on loan and after the player travelled to Edinburgh for discussions and a tour of facilities, they have succeeded when clubs in the English Championship were reportedly keen on his signature.
Kuol has three Australia caps and played for the Socceroos at the World Cup. His substitute appearance against Argentina in the last 16 made him the youngest player to play in a World Cup knockout stage game since Pele in 1958.
Hearts boss Robbie Neilson was delighted to land the attacker.
“It’s fantastic news that Garang has committed himself to Hearts for the next six months,” he told the club website.
“It’s no secret that we were extremely interested in him and he came up for a look around last week. He was impressed with what he saw and what we’re trying to do here, which is pleasing.
“We’re getting a player who is by no means the finished article but there is a lot of talent there – you don’t get called up to and play in the World Cup for nothing.
“He’ll offer us new options going forward as we look to continue our good form and continue to make progress in the league and in the Scottish Cup, and we’re really looking forward to working with him.”
Hearts sporting director Joe Savage said: “We’re thrilled to be able to get this deal done and welcome Garang to Gorgie.
“His talents were courted by some of the biggest clubs in the continent when he was playing in Australia and he went on to play in the World Cup finals, so to be able to bring such an exciting prospect to Hearts speaks volumes about the appeal of our club.
“I have to extend a big thank you to Kwaku Mensah and Newcastle United’s Shola Ameobi and Dan Ashworth for placing their trust in us and helping to bring Garang here.
“We’re all really looking forward to Garang pulling on the maroon jersey and I know our fans will be excited by him too.”