Ryan Porteous staying at Hibs until summer might be 'best possible deal' for player and club

“There are several options for him to choose from and we’re looking to strike the best deal possible for the club,” Hibs chief Ben Kensell said as he confirmed Ryan Porteous was “likely to leave in this window”.

The 23-year-old centre-back has been linked with Watford and Blackburn Rovers, as well as Udinese and Toulouse and the Easter Road side will be keen on earning a significant six-figure sum for a product of their youth academy. One who has made his international bow and played more than 150 first-team games for the club.

Hibs sit sixth in the Premiership but are closer to 12th than third. Only Kilmarnock have conceded more goals than them in the league. The appropriate question is ‘can the club afford to sell their best defender’? The “best deal possible for the club” may just be keeping him in Leith until the end of the season.

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According to the Scottish Sun, Hibs are lining up a move for former Killie centre-back Stuart Findlay. He made the move to Oxford United during the summer from MLS but after being a regular starter he has found himself on the bench in recent weeks. A reliable, ball-playing left-sided centre-back, the 27-year-old has attracted attention from the Premiership’s top sides previously since failing to make a strong impact with Philadelphia Union.

Rearranging the deckchairs

Looking at Hibs right now, they need someone like Findlay to supplement what they already have, especially with concerns over an injury to Rocky Bushiri. The Belgian was rushed to hospital after the loss to Hearts in the Scottish Cup fourth round on Sunday. Moving on Porteous and bringing in the former Killie defender would be a case of rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. It doesn't solve any of the current issues. Especially when you consider the next three games. Hibs host Aberdeen before travelling to Ross County and St Mirren. That is a run of fixtures which could help shape the remainder of the season for the club who failed to progress from the League Cup group stages and then were dumped out of the Scottish Cup at the first time of asking.

Assuming Bushiri could be set for a lengthy absence, Porteous partnering someone like Findlay would see the Hibs centre-back partnership have a nice balance, plenty of Scottish Premiership experience and two international defenders. Not forgetting how important the former is to the team with his play-making abilities from centre-back and his range of passing.

From the player’s point of view, waiting until the summer would perhaps present him with more options, both in England and abroad. As things stand, the ball is very much in Porteous’ court. He may view a move now as being beneficial, especially due to the club’s predicament, but the club can no longer think the “best possible deal” involves moving on their best defender and one of the team’s key players when there remains a concern of dropping down the league, or on a more positive flip side, the chance of fourth and European football is still within reach.

Hibs star Ryan Porteous is out of contract at the end of the season. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

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