Hibs boss Pat Fenlon today revealed he’s cast his net far and wide in the search for new players, predicting French kid Abdellah Zoubir might not be his last import from Europe.
Easter Road fans were poised to catch their first glimpse of the 21-year-old since he arrived on loan from Ligue 2 outfit Istres where, coincidentally, former Hibs midfielder Freddy Arpinon is now director of football, in this afternoon’s Scottish Premiership clash with St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.
To date, Fenlon’s signings have, in general, been confined to the British and Irish markets with Gambian internationalist Pa Kujabi proving to be something of an exception.
However, now, Fenlon disclosed, the hunt is on across the continent for fresh talent at both first team and youth level. His chief scout Dave Henderson has been dispatched to take in matches in a number of countries in recent months and will continue to do so with Fenlon believing there’s a rich market to be tapped as foreign clubs as well as those on these shores struggle financially.
He said: “We have been across Europe through the summer. We have been to a fair few countries looking. There are quality players out there and quality young players who are looking to make their way in the game.”
Zoubir had, he revealed, come to Hibs’ attention “through contacts and watching games,” and having secured a player he believes will excite the Easter Road support on a season long deal, he’s determined to continue his quest to unearth more talent around the continent.
He said: “It’s a good market, something we will keep looking at whether that be at first team level or academy level. We want to dig into that if we can.
“There’s a lot of good young players and a lot of good senior players out there while there isn’t loads of money around in Europe for players even in some of the big leagues. If you look at Spain, outside La Liga, clubs are struggling in relation to wages. There can be complications, though, in bringing in players from the continent so we will have to make sure any deal is right for everyone.”