Ryan Porteous: New frontrunners in race to sign Hibs defender with January departure 'likely'

Toulouse have emerged as one of the frontrunners to land Ryan Porteous after Hibs chief executive Ben Kensell revealed the player is ‘likely’ to move on during this transfer window.

The Leith side are keen to cash in before the 23-year-old academy graduate’s contract expires in the summer and are now weighing up approaches from south of the border and the continent.

A host of English clubs, including Watford, Millwall, Sunderland, Stoke City, Sheffield Wednesday and Hull City, have all been credited with interest in the Scotland cap, but it is understood that the player, who broke into Hibs’ first team in July 2017, is keen to venture further afield as he looks to tackle a new challenge and bolster his international credentials.

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With less than six months remaining on his current contract, Porteous and his representatives are free to open discussions with any suitor, and could opt to sign a pre-contract and wait until the summer. But that would deny Hibs the best possible return on their investment.

Hibs defender Ryan Porteous is attracting interest from clubs in France, Italy and England. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)Hibs defender Ryan Porteous is attracting interest from clubs in France, Italy and England. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
Hibs defender Ryan Porteous is attracting interest from clubs in France, Italy and England. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

The Leith club know it will be expensive to find a like-for-like replacement for the man who was given a leadership role by manager Lee Johnson at the start of the season, and would prefer to recoup some finance by selling the player while they still can.

“He’s been a fantastic servant for the club, and we’ve had nothing but positive conversations throughout but Ryan is likely to leave in this window.

"There are several options for him to choose from and we’re looking to strike the best deal possible for the club, whilst also keeping an eye on the best possible deal for Ryan.”

Porteous has seen the likes of Jack Hendry, Aaron Hickey, Lewis Ferguson and former Easter Road team-mate Josh Doig thrive in Italy and it was believed that Udinese were firm favourites to capture his signature but it is understood that the Serie A side have, so far, failed to match Hibs’ valuation.

KV Oostende, who have been long-term admirers of the young Scot and were credited with a £1m dabble last year, are also in discussions, while multiple Bundesliga sides are also said to be monitoring the situation, but it is the French Ligue 1 outfit, who won promotion from the second tier last term, who have upped the ante and have become one of the teams most likely to broker a deal.

The Philippe Montanier-coached team sit 12th in the congested middle section of the table at the moment and are looking to push on in the second half of the campaign.

They also have a number of Scandinavian players on the books, which would help ease communication in the early period. But the important thing for Porteous is the likelihood of regular game time as he presses forward with his bid for greater involvement in Steve Clarke’s Scotland line-up.

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Having seen others elevated to the squad and then into the starting XI following moves abroad, the defender is hoping that regular involvement on the continent will accelerate his own development and enhance his chances of adding to the one cap he gained against Ukraine in the Nations League in September.



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