The Cinch Scottish Premiership has become an unlikely hotbed for Australian players looking to break into the European scene when transitioning from their native OZ. The Winter World Cup in Qatar saw Aziz Behich, Keanu Baccus and Aaron Mooy amongst others feature for the Socceroos.
One club however, has appeared to profit most from the Oceania market, with Heart of Midlothian boasting three Australia World Cup squad members. The Gorgie side look to be adding wonderkid Garang Kuol on loan from Newcastle United, to add to Cammy Devlin, Nathaniel Atkinson and former Central Coast Mariners team mate Kye Rowles.
Kuol has been subject of massive media hype following his breakthrough in the A League in early 2022 at the tender age of 17, scoring 4 goals in 7 league appearances before even penning his first professional contract. Such was the impact of his introduction into the first team, by mid-September the forward was snapped up by newly cash rich Newcastle United. Eddie Howe’s side moved quickly to tie the starlet down to a pre-contract agreement, meaning he would make the move to the northern hemisphere on January 1st.
However when Eddie Howe made it clear on the day Kuol arrived that he wanted the 18-year-old to play first team football, he pulled the trigger on the starting pistol for a host of sides racing for the youngster’s signature, looking for a potential sprinkle of stardust on their side.
A move to Edinburgh, aided by the fact their is already an A League expat contingent, seems to make sense for the young forward looking to explode into Europe with the same ferocity that he did in his native league.
Born in Egypt in 2004 to South Sudanese parents, Kuol moved to Australia in his infancy. He was fast tracked through the ranks of youth football making his splash in the top division. Following an appearance at this year’s FIFA World Cup, he became the youngest player to do so since a 16-year-old Pele in 1958.
His older brother Alou, is no stranger to European football, already plying his trade for VFB Stuttgart in Germany. Both featured for Central Coast Mariners before making the move, with boss Nick Montgomery describing the younger Kuol sibling as ‘still a boy’ and believes it will ‘be a shock physically and pressure wise’ when he eventually gets to ply his trade in Europe.
Whilst a move to Tynecastle would seemingly help aid his physicality and provide vital experience of gritty, pressurised matches in the Scottish top flight. The forward will also add a dynamic element to the Hearts front line that has relied heavily on Lawrence Shankland for goals.
Hearts boss Robbie Neilson has already made it clear that he would ‘love’ to add the youngster to his ranks. Kuol will not only provide a back up option for the league’s join-top goal scorer, but his ability to play on either flank adds much needed competition and cover for Barrie McKay and Josh Ginnelly.