Melbourne City will lose one of their up and coming A-League players to the Scottish Premiership. Hearts of Midlothian have agreed to sign Olyroo Nathaniel Atkinson.
Multiple Scottish papers report that Scottish Premiership side Hearts have come to an agreement with Melbourne City to sign their A-League right back Nathaniel Atkinson. According to The Scotsman, Hearts are in the process of securing a work permit for the Olyroo.
Nathaniel Atkinson Transfer
- Melbourne City and Hearts of Midlothian have come to an agreement.
- Atkinson set to move as the Scottish January transfer window opens.
- The Olyroo will join fellow Olympian Cameron Devlin in Edinburgh.
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Scotland's transfer window opens on Saturday, January 1, 2022. Should this final visa hurdle be passed, Atkinson could be available for Hearts' Scottish Premiership Edinburgh derby match against Socceroo Martin Boyle's Hibernian on January 3, 2022.
The 22-year-old will arrive at Hearts to a friendly face. Fellow Olyroo Cameron Devlin joined the Tynecastle side ahead of their 2021-22 season. He has since become a regular starter for the first team.
The right back's Melbourne City's head coach Patrick Kisborno is also not unfamiliar to the Scottish club. Kisborno played two seasons for Hearts from 2003 to 2005.
Atkinson's arrival would be a welcome one for the Edinburgh side. Their starting right-back Michael Smith has suffered from an ongoing back injury, requiring the club to field Taylor Moore who is unfamiliar with the position when Smith has been unavailable.
The City right-back has only ever played professionally for the A-League club, making his debut for the senior side in December 2017. Atkinson had good 2020-21 season which concluded with him being named the grand final player of the match.
He followed this up with an inclusion in the Olyroos squad, featuring in two of Australia's Tokyo 2020 matches and then a game winning goal against Perth Glory in Melbourne City's Round 4 2021-22 A-League match.
Ahead of this season Atkinson had not been shy about wanting to move overseas. Speaking to the Examiner in November, he said the following when asked about interest from clubs abroad:
"As far as I know, I couldn't really tell you. That's my agent's job," he said.
"This is my last season on my contract so we'll see what happens at the end of the season but the best way to move forward is to put yourself in the best situation so start the season off well, finish it off strong and the sky's the limit after that.
"I told my agent I want to focus on this year and put myself in the best situation to move on with my career whether that is here or overseas."
Also adding: "Going to the Olympics and playing against some of the best players in the world from some of the best clubs in the world, it's a good eye-opener and obviously to hold your own against the best in the world is good motivation to push on and hopefully make a career like them."
Once his work permit is approved, Atkinson's career should continue in Scotland starting next month. Hearts are currently third in the Scottish Premiership, trailing second placed Celtic FC by eight points.
The Scottish Premiership is broadcast on BeIN Sports in Australia.