Jair Tavares joins Hibs from Benfica as Portuguese forward signs long-term deal
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The highly-rated 21-year-old arrives from Lisbon giants Benfica, where he has been playing in the side’s B team. In 24 games last season he notched five goal contributions as the club finished fifth in the Liga Portugal SABSEG.
Although he did not feature for the Liga Primeira side’s first team, he was called up to train with the senior squad by former manager Bruno Lage.
Primarily a left-winger who can operate on the opposite flank, through the middle, or up top, Tavares has been capped by his country at Under-16, Under-17, Under-18, and Under-19 level.
He also has UEFA Youth League experience, having represented Benfica in 2018 facing Bayern Munich, before the Eagles met Marseille, RB Leipzig, and Zenit St Petersburg the following season.
Tavares is Hibs’ seventh signing of the summer following Momodou Bojang, Rocky Bushiri, Ewan Henderson, Nohan Kenneh, David Marshall, and Lewis Miller.
Easter Road boss Lee Johnson said: “Completing the deal to bring Jair to Hibs is a real coup for this football club.
“He’s an incredibly talented winger who will not only improve our first-team squad, but has a lot of potential to develop into a top player in this league.
“Jair is an exciting, attacking talent that adds speed and trickery to our wide areas. We welcome him warmly and look forward to working with him.”
Head of Recruitment Ian Gordon added: “It’s not often you are able to get a player of Jair’s quality for the terms agreed in this transfer.
“He’s a player we’ve monitored closely for a period of time and were able to take advantage of a specific clause in his contract. He is a real talent who will only get better.”
Tavares comes from good footballing stock, with cousin Renato Sanches plying his trade for Lille and Portugal, and two elder brothers who play for União de Santarém.
Having spent his entire career to date in Portugal, the Lisborn-born wideman is leaving his homeland for the first time in order to progress his footballing journey.
Speaking after signing his contract he said: “The trust the manager passed on to me was really important in deciding to come here.
"Not many coaches do what he did for me, so I thank him a lot. I’m really, really happy. I’m excited. I came from Portugal to help the team and the club to get success and a lot of wins.
“It’s a big opportunity to play for this club, to show me and this club to the world. I am here to help the club.”
Tavares is keen to take the next step in his career with regular senior football after impressing in Portugal’s second tier.
“The experience I had with Benfica B really helped me a lot because I played against big men, which gave me a lot of experience; that will be important for this season at Hibernian.
“As a player, I’m a fast guy, I’m skilful, but I will always just look to help the team.”