Ryan Porteous: Watford and Hibs agree fee as defender heads south to complete move

Hibs defender Ryan Porteous is one step closer to becoming a Watford player after the clubs agreed a fee for the 23-year-old.

The Scotland centre-half is now on his way south to finalise personal terms, with a medical to follow.

Porteous came through Hibs’ youth academy and has been a first team regular after he broke into the first team in July 2017. With his current contract due to expire in the summer, and the player unwilling to extend his stay at the Leith club, the board have opted to cash in while they still can.

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The £200,000 base fee could rise to between £400,000-£500,000 with adds on, while Hibs have also managed to stitch a significant sell-on clause into the deal and it now all rests on the player, who had also been courted by Watford’s Championship promotion rivals Blackburn Rovers, Serie A side Udinese and French outfit Toulouse.

Hibs defender Ryan Porteous is travelling to London after Watford had a bid accepted for him.

Speaking ahead of last week’s derby the 23-year-old, who was given a leadership role under current Hibs manager Lee Johnson, said it was only right that the club ensure some financial recompense, adding that things had “got to a situation where it maybe shouldn’t have and I think if the club can get money, and an adequate replacement in, then that’s best for both parties”. But, with the move to Vicarage Road now all but completed, Hibs now have less than a week to fill the void left by Porteous who has also been utilised in a defensive midfield role in recent matches.

While Hibs try to assert themselves in the top six of the cinch Premiership, Porteous will now aim to help third-place Watford earn promotion to the English top flight, as he removes himself from what he has described as the fishbowl of Scottish football.

“I wouldn’t say I was forced out but the best place to go is out of Scotland,” Porteous recently said. “A lot of people jump on the backs of Scottish talent. McGinn said that after the Ukraine game, that we should try to get these players to flourish and help them. I don’t think we do that enough.

“Some of them have gone abroad and they are not highlighted and targeted, and every mistake or flaw isn’t magnified. I think that’s been the case with me. I think it has been for two or three years and I think as soon as I leave it will give me a platform to further my career.

“You want to be the best you can be and if that was in Scotland I would choose it. But, for me, it isn’t. I think I can go elsewhere. You see a lot of players that have gone down south, John McGinn and Scott McKenna in recent years, and others who have gone abroad, Lewis Ferguson, Aaron Hickey, Jack Hendry.

“A lot of players that people said weren’t good enough have left Scotland because it is a fishbowl and you get caught up in it. A lot of people said Jack Hendry wasn’t good enough and he’s starting every game for Scotland now and he’s played in the Champions League in the last 18 months. That gives you a reason to want to further your career and take the best option.”

Hibs are also set to lose striker Kevin Nisbet after Millwall tabled a bid that could rise to £2.4m.