Hearts edge closer to signing Nigeria World Cup star Oshaniwa

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The 24-year-old has verbally agreed to join the capital club and was granted a conditional British work permit after his representatives attended a meeting at Hampden on Tuesday afternoon.

Oshaniwa has spent the last three seasons playing for FC Ashdod – the former team of Celtic star Efe Ambrose – but departed the Israeli side this summer following their relegation from the top flight.

With a few technicalities still to be ironed out, sources have confirmed he will not arrive in the UK to formally complete his transfer until next week at the earliest, when he will sign a three-year deal.

The versatile defender, who played all four games for his country at last summer’s World Cup, has been brought in to replace Adam Eckersley at left-back but can also be deployed at the heart of defence.

He has reportedly attracted interest from Celtic, Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday in the past. Indeed, Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson, speaking last month, appeared resigned to missing out on Oshaniwa. He said: “Oshaniwa is a player who was put to us and he is a fantastic player ­- he played four games at the World Cup for Nigeria.

“If we could get a player of that calibre then I would be delighted but I would be surprised if we did.”

However, Hearts appear to have won the race for the 11-times capped defender, who sees a switch to Tynecastle as the perfect stepping stone to carve a successful career in English football. Oshaniwa’s capture will follow the summer arrivals of Juanma Delgado, Gavin Reilly and Blazej Augustyn.

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