Why Dylan Levitt is a such a signing coup for Hibs and where he fits into the Lee Johnson jigsaw

A football team can be viewed as a jigsaw puzzle that is rarely completed and if it is, it definitely doesn’t remain intact for long but, in signing Dylan Levitt, Hibs have slotted another piece into position.

In doing so, a more positive picture is emerging ahead of the new campaign.

The 22-year-old Manchester United academy graduate is highly regarded and a number of teams north and south of the border made enquiries but it is a coup for Hibs that the lad, who has spent the past two seasons at Dundee United, saw Easter Road as the best place for him to push forward.

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He believes the club is making strides, and European football was another lure. But, talking about manager Lee Johnson’s preferred style of play, it was the opportunity to get on the front foot in games, and to be utilised further up the pitch, that got the deal over the line.

Hibs unveiled the signing of Dylan Levitt from Dundee United on Wednesday. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)Hibs unveiled the signing of Dylan Levitt from Dundee United on Wednesday. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
Hibs unveiled the signing of Dylan Levitt from Dundee United on Wednesday. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

“He was very clear that he wants to have a lot of the ball and that suits me to a tee,” Levitt expressed.

It should suit the team as well, as there have been some widely-noted difficulties in finding the right balance in that central area of the park. But Levitt offers them something different.

Not since the likes of Scott Allan or Dylan McGeouch have the Leith club had someone with the Welshman’s range of passing or the vision to maximise that. But while McGeouch was used in a slightly deeper role - much as Levitt was at Tannadice last term - the real threat comes when the player, who once represented Manchester United in European competition, is played in a more advanced position, poking and probing opposition defences, unlocking opportunities for himself and others.

That is the kind of play that raised Levitt’s public profile and it was showcased perfectly in his first season in Scottish football, in 2021/22, when his attacking menace was supported by statistics.

While his dribbling, deep progressions, turnovers and pressured passess were all rated well above average, he scored even higher when it came to telling passes into the box, key passes, and his on the ball value, with the latter seeing him among the top four per cent in the Premiership that season.

As would be expected, those numbers dipped last term as United struggled to escape the relegation battle, juggled managers, and ultimately ended the season bottom of the pile. During that troubled campaign, Levitt, who signed on permanently at the beginning of the season was forced to fulfil a more defensive, deep lying role, which did not play to his strengths. But that is why he views the move to Leith so positively.

The priority is to fight his way back into the Wales squad and being allowed to showcase his assets under Johnson is an opportunity he jumped at.

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Having been capped at age-group level, he made the jump to the full squad and has amassed 13 caps. He was also part of the squad for the Qatar World Cup but was not part of the most recent Euro 2024 qualifiers, fuelling his desire to shake up his club career.

“I want to get back in the Wales squad, as well, so this gives me a platform to kick on from there.”

At Hibs, he believes he will have the men around him to help catch national boss Rob Page’s eye. Guys like Aussie international James Jeggo is the ideal foil for the youngster, capable of doing the dirty work Levitt sometimes struggles with. If he can mop up behind him and do the hard tackling, that frees up Levitt to be a more attacking influence, while his greater experience should also help the youngster grow.

Despite last season’s limitations, he scored 11 goals and made four assists in his 62 appearances for Dundee United and his inability to get into the position where he could make his attacking nous and forward passes count, was undoubtedly a contributing factor in the Tayside team’s relegation.

But he admits that the “last two years have been two different experiences” and Hibs made the transfer knowing what he is capable of if he is let off the leash and has targets ahead of him to hit.

No wonder there was a frisson of excitement in Leith when the signing was completed. To get him at the cutdown price of £300,000, when the Tayside outfit had been hoping for closer to half a million, looks like sound business, especially when tying the 22-year-old up on a three-year contract safeguards potential profit should he do well enough to progress his career further.

The club are still looking for striking reinforcements following the departure of top scorer Kevin Nisbet, but have already recruited a wiley goalscorer in the shape of Adam Le Fondre. He has scored goals wherever he has been and is confident he will do so in Scotland, stating: “I know for a fact that I will score goals, if service is there, that's a given.”

With Levitt opening doors by threading passes through the middle and supplying the pacey Elie Youan and the returning speedster Martin Boyle on the flanks, there are suddenly more options open to Johnson as he plots a way to move above last term’s fifth-place finish and challenge the likes of Aberdeen and Hearts for the title of best of the rest.

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A player who can influence play so tellingly will also be considered beneficial in one-off cup matches as the club chases silverware.

As it stands Levitt is just one piece of the puzzle but it is a jigsaw that appears to be taking shape.



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