Hearts win race to sign Premier League loanee - what type of player, £1m record fee, further signings expected

Hearts have completed their first signing of the January transfer window with the addition of James Hill from Premier League side Bournemouth.

The Capital side beat off competition for the signing of the centre-back who turns 21 on Tuesday. He joins on a loan deal until the end of the season after struggling for game time for the Cherries, who sit 16th in the English top flight.

Hill, an England Under-20 international, made the move to Bournemouth last January, joining in a £1million deal from Fleetwood Town. He made his debut aged 16 for the Fishermen, going on to play 53 times before making the move for what was a club record fee.

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“I would say I am an aggressive defender,” Hill said. “I like to enjoy the ball at my feet, but I enjoy defending and working hard. Every moment I get to step on the pitch, I never give up, but I am a very physical defender and I have a little attribute of a long-throw that I like to try and contribute with.”

With Craig Halkett suffering a season-ending injury, Hearts were in need of defensive reinforcements. “I’m happy that we’ve been able to bring James in until the end of the season,” Robbie Neilson said. We’ve been unlucky with injuries in defence, and while the guys in there have been performing really well it was always high on our priorities list to get another defender in. James has fantastic experience of playing at a high level down south and with England U-20s and U-21s and I’m sure that will stand him in good stead when the time comes for him to play for Hearts.”

Hearts sporting director Joe Savage said: “James was a man in demand and we’ve managed to beat off a lot of competition to get him, so we’re really pleased. We know the areas we want to strengthen and our fans can rest assured that we’re continuing to work away to make sure that this is a successful transfer window for the club.”

Hearts will look to add more players to the squad in the coming days with Newcastle United starlet Garang Kuol Japanese forward Yutaro Oda set to sign, while the club continue to work to land their former player Callum Paterson from Sheffield Wednesday.



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