‘Exceptional’ midfielder Beni Baningime will shine at Hearts according to manager Robbie Neilson after his move from Everton – with the club close to signing Cameron Devlin.
The 23-year-old Australian midfielder is set to link up with Hearts when a work permit is secured and a period of quarantine is over. Devlin will aim for the same impact as Baningime, who joined the Scottish Premiership club on a three-year deal from Everton last week. He was named Man of the Match during his league debut against Celtic.
Neilson said of Baningime: “I thought he was exceptional for us. He did exactly what we expected him to do. He hadn’t played much football for Everton in pre-season and we thought we’d maybe get 50 or 60 minutes out of him – we got 90. He’s really good on the ball and covers the ball well. We are really pleased with him.
“I think he’s a good player. He played eight or nine times for Everton. To even be considered near that level means he’s a top player. We still think there’s more development in him. We have a real asset.”
Devlin meanwhile has 51 A-League appearances to his name, most of which have came for Wellington Phoenix. He joined Newcastle Jets on a two-year deal in June but is set to move again.
Neilson’s deal for the Australian midfielder – who represented his country at Tokyo 2020 this summer – is almost complete: “We’ve got a deal agreed with the club and the player, there’s now just a few issues with the visa and making sure we can get him over. The deal isn’t concluded yet but we are pretty far down the line.
“He’s a combative midfielder, aggressive, wins the ball back, really good in possession as well. Good experience now and one of the key things for us is he is a good age as well. We have been trying to get the average age of the squad down.”
NTOF now offers a YouTube channel featuring exclusive interviews, post-match discussion, in-depth debate, and much more – LIKE and SUBSCRIBE and don’t miss any of our videos.