Hibs sign Adam Le Fondre - 'most selfless person', Sydney spell, 2018 link, big test of new DoF

Hibs have completed the signing of former Reading, Wolves and Bolton Wanderers striker Adam Le Fondre.
Adam Le Fondre has signed for Hibs after a spell in Australia with Sydney FC.Adam Le Fondre has signed for Hibs after a spell in Australia with Sydney FC.
Adam Le Fondre has signed for Hibs after a spell in Australia with Sydney FC.

The transfer window in Scotland officially opened on Wednesday and Hibs have wasted little time in securing their first new recruit. The 36-year-old has agreed a one-year deal but the Leith club have the option to extend that should everything go to plan.

A player under Hibs’ Director of Football Brian McDermott when Reading secured promotion to the English Premier League in 2012, he came off the bench to score and give his side the point they needed against Crystal Palace to win the Championship. Le Fondre has been hailed by his former gaffer McDermott as “the most selfless person” and a “team player”, while his scoring pedigree is evident to anyone who studies his statistics, having rattled in goals wherever he has been, with 273 goals in 694 career appearances.

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With McDermott having an obvious say in bringing Le Fondre to the Scottish capital, his performances will be a telling insight into the new Director of Football’s recruitment credentials. The Englishman was a target for Hibs back in 2018, following the departure of Grant Holt and Anthony Stokes. Still under contract to Bolton Wanderers at that time, he eventually made the switch to Sydney FC instead. There he scored 56 goals in 97 appearances, despite spending a year on loan at Mumbai City where he played a key role in them winning the league in 2020/21, with a return on 11 goals in 20 outings.

In Australia, Le Fondre helped his side to one Premiership title and victory in two Grand Finals. The man who also has stints at Cardiff City, Bolton Wanderers, Wolves, and Wigan was also named in the A-League team of the year in 2019 and 2020. He has now been pinpointed as a reliable source of goals following the departure of Scotland striker Kevin Nisbet for Millwall and is also considered the right type of player and character to help the Easter Road climb the Premiership standings and push for silverware in the cup competitions.

A team player, his experience is also seen as something that can be tapped into by the younger, rawer forwards already on the Leith side’s books and someone who will be booking to dine out on the service from the flanks, with Elie Youan signed on a permanent deal and Martin Boyle also set to make his return.

“Adam brings craft to our new front-line and his experience and nous in the game will help develop our younger strikers,” said manager Lee Johnson. “Throughout his career he has a proven scoring record and, physically he’s in good shape. We look forward to working with him.”

Le Fondre, who is nicknamed ALF due to his initials, is expected to join up with his new team-mates when they check back in at the East Mains training centre on Thursday for the start of pre-season testing and training. The first summer signing, he is unlikely to be the last as Hibs try to progress the return of last season’s loan stars Will Fish and, possibly, CJ Egan-Riley, from Manchester United and Burnley respectively.