Hibs strike long-term deal for 'real coup' Jair Tavares as Aiden McGeady still an option for club

Hibs have pulled off a “real coup” in attracting new signing Jair Tavares to the club, according to manager Lee Johnson.

Jair Tavares has represented Portugal at under-19 level.
Jair Tavares has represented Portugal at under-19 level.

Describing the 21-year-old winger, who joins the Leith club from the Benfica’s B team, as an “exciting, attacking talent”, the Hibs boss said he will not only improve the side but has the potential to become a top player in the league.

The Portuguese successfully completed a medical in Scotland on Wednesday and has signed a long-term deal that will tie him to the club until 2026. He will join his new team-mates when they report back for pre-season training on Saturday.

A rapid, tricky attacker, who can play on the left or the right wing, or can operate in a more advanced position through the middle, there were a number of clubs chasing his signature. But, the player, who is a cousin of Lille and Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches, was won over by the clear opportunity for regular first-team football at Hibs.

A product of the Benfica youth set-up, he made 24 appearances for Benfica B in the second-tier of Portuguese football last season and scored four goals. He has also been a regular at Portugal age-group level, earning caps for the Under-15s, 16s, 17s, 18s and 19s.

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“Completing the deal to bring Jair to Hibernian FC is a real coup for this football club,” said the thrilled Hibs boss Johnson.

“He’s an incredibly talented winger that’ll not only improve our First Team squad, but is someone that has a lot of potential to develop into a top player in this league.

“Jair is an exciting, attacking talent that adds speed and trickery to our wide areas. We welcome him warmly to Hibs and look forward to working with him.

“I’d also like to thank the staff at Hibernian FC, Benfica, Jair’s father Adriano, and his agent for their work in getting this deal done.”

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The latest signing underlines Johnson’s attacking intent as he looks to offer his team greater width in the final third and fill the creative void left by the departure of Martin Boyle, Chris Mueller, Jamie Murphy and Sylvester Jasper. As well as looking to inject greater pace into his side, the ongoing absence of Kevin Nisbet due to injury also had to be addressed.

A lack of goals proved costly to the Premiership side, who missed out on the top six last term, and Johnson has already brought in striker Momodou Bojang. There is further ambition to strengthen the final third of the side, with Aiden McGeady still an option.

But, while some of the hoped-for business may depend on outgoings, the manager is still looking for another winger, an attacking midfielder and a striker as they look to bounce back from last season’s disappointments and match the standards set by the teams above them last term.

Head of Recruitment Ian Gordon added: “It’s not often you are able to get a player of Jair’s quality for the terms agreed in this transfer.

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“He’s a player we’ve monitored closely for a period of time and were able to take advantage of a specific clause in his contract. He is a real talent that’ll only get better.”