Hibs and the Josh Doig transfer blueprint: Why club wants to find 'right team' for departing players

Hibs don’t often sell players to clubs overseas and certainly not their top talent, as they did with left-back Josh Doig who joined Hellas Verona last month.
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But there’s a reason why the defender swapped Easter Road for the Piazza delle Erbe.

The 20-year-old’s exciting move to Italy wasn’t the result of Verona simply taking a punt; Hibs chiefs had already earmarked Serie A as the ideal place for Doig to continue his development – and they want to do the same for other players keen to move abroad.

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"Josh is a perfect example of, not just a transactional thing, but identifying the right club for a Hibs player, and not just sending him to Millwall or some second-rate Championship or League One team down south where he's just one of many,” club owner Ron Gordon told the Evening News in an exclusive interview.

"Josh is playing in Serie A. He will be playing against Milan, Inter, Napoli, he'll be learning from some of the traditional defensive maestros in football. This is a growth opportunity.

"My thinking, and the goal with Josh was, where would be the best place for him? So we went looking in Italy.

"It's not like we said, 'hey, here's Josh, anyone want him?'

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"We felt Italy would be perfect for him. We identified that, and started working. We want to do that with the rest of our young players.

Ron Gordon wants to see more players follow in Josh Doig's footstepsRon Gordon wants to see more players follow in Josh Doig's footsteps
Ron Gordon wants to see more players follow in Josh Doig's footsteps

"Maybe some will stay at Hibs, but for others we want to be the pathway club for them.

"It can be a pathway for our younger Academy players, or for younger players we identify from outside the club, and that is all part of our plan: a broader network and to have relationships with other clubs.

"It's not about selling players. One of the things we had in our plan was to be a players' club; to really care for them, nurture them, and develop them. And we have that philosophy at HTC. We have a new canteen, a better gym, and a player-care team that wasn't there before. All these things are positive.”

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Gordon insists Hibs are applying the same logic to incoming signings and well as outgoing, during a transfer window that has seen reinforcements arrive from Australia, Croatia, Gambia, Portugal, and Switzerland to join previous arrivals from Belgium and Norway.

"We were very domestic in our vision and our thinking when I arrived. But football is a global game," he continued.

"We are a local club with a local responsibility, but it's a global game.

"It’s the same for us in terms of recruitment. I don't think for us to keep looking in the UK was going to lead to the kind of product we wanted,” he added.

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"There's a risk; these guys may not assimilate, they're away from home, life may be difficult, the game might be different. So there's a risk there but I absolutely believe we have brought in some really talented players.

"Are all of them going to be superstars? No. Do we have perhaps three, four, five who could be really positive contributors? Yes.

"We haven't seen a lot of them yet; I don't know what the strongest starting XI would be, but we have some real talent in my opinion."

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