Hearts of Midlothian have completed the signing of highly-rated Japanese forward Yutaro Oda.
The 21-year-old joins the Jambos from J.League side Vissel Kobe on a three-and-a-half-year deal for an undisclosed fee.
Pacey, direct and technically gifted, the current Japan U-21 player arrives in Gorgie with Japanese top flight, AFC Champions League and international experience under his belt.
Yutaro made his first-team debut for Vissel Kobe in April 2019, aged 17. His J.League bow came in July 2020, when he would feature alongside FC Barcelona and Spain legend Anders Iniesta, helping Vissel to the semifinals of the AFC Champions League.
Season 21/22 saw Yutaro feature regularly in the Vissel first team as they once again made great strides in the AFC Champions League, this time reaching the last eight.
Capped from U-15 all the way up to U-20 level for Japan, Yutaro made his first appearance for the U-21 side in November, scoring as the young Samurai Blues defeated Portugal U-21s 2-1 in a friendly match.
He’ll now continue his development in the famous maroon jersey of the Jam Tarts and Robbie Neilson is delighted to get his man.
The manager said, “I’m really pleased to get Yutaro in as our next signing of this window.”
“He’s got a lot of great attributes but the exciting thing is that he’s still young and there will be more to come from him, so we’ve got a huge part to play in developing him.”
“He’s very quick, very direct and technically very good. He’ll bring a lot to the team and we’re all looking forward to working with him.”
Sporting Director Joe Savage said, “We’ve made no secret of our willingness to focus on markets across the world in an effort to identify talent and value for money.”
“In Yutaro, we feel we’ve got both of those things. He is someone we had been looking at for a while and, thankfully, all the pieces fell into place to allow us to bring him to the club.”
“I’d like to thank Vissel Kobe for their cooperation, CAA Base and in particular Joel Pannick for helping to get the deal done and, of course, our board for their continued backing and support.”
“Yutaro has all the qualities to be a hit in maroon and I’m sure our fans are looking forward to seeing him light up the Tynecastle pitch.”