Scottish Daily Mail


Hibs boss claims forward will prove an asset after six-figure investment


LEE JOHnSOn is confident Hibs will reap the benefits of ‘a considerab­le investment’ after they signed Elie Youan on a six-figure permanent deal until the summer of 2026.

The Easter Road club announced yesterday that they have taken advantage of an option-to-buy clause to purchase the 24-year-old French forward from Swiss side St Gallen after he impressed during his loan spell in Leith this season.

Youan initially struggled to make an impact on his arrival at the Edinburgh club but he has now become one of the first picks.

Manager Johnson revealed that the club have paid a fee of ‘not quite seven figures, but very high sixes’ for the player — who has seven goals and seven assists this term — and he believes it will prove money well spent.

‘The club have invested in a young asset,’ said Johnson, whose team will attempt to close the gap on third-placed Aberdeen in tomorrow’s Premiershi­p match at Pittodrie.

‘Credit to the ownership for the investment they’ve put in, it’s a considerab­le investment for a club like Hibs, and one that we feel is a good one for us, not only on the pitch but in terms of future value as well.

‘Elie has improved phenomenal­ly this season. He’s had an impact in a difficult league. He’s got good numbers in terms of goals and assists and he stretches opponents.

‘He’s growing up. He’s moved to a different country and culture and, if that trajectory remains, then you’d expect him to have an even better season next season.

‘He’s not the finished article and we’re not finished developing him. He’s got mega work to do. This is just an extension of his work and I think Hibs is a great vehicle for Elie.’

The recruitmen­t of Youan was the second bit of notable business finalised by Hibs this week after they announced on Tuesday that 35-year-old Lewis Stevenson — who has spent his entire career with the club — has signed a deal to remain next term.

Johnson, for his part, feels that the veteran still has scope for improvemen­t.

‘Lewy’s attachment to the club, his personalit­y, and his quality on the football pitch is important,’ he said. ‘He’s absolutely trustworth­y, you know what you’re getting with him.

‘And this is going to sound a bit of a strange one, but I think he’s still got loads to work on. I think he’s got more in the locker than he shows sometimes.

‘He’s dynamic, he’s powerful, he’s got a great centre of gravity and he can handle the ball, but I want him to take the ground more, take the little spaces.

‘That sounds strange to try and improve someone of his age but he enjoys trying to improve that attacking stuff.

‘But as a defender, you can’t get more honest and trustworth­y. He never shirks a tackle, you wouldn’t want to play against him because he’s brave and tough.’

 ?? ?? Dream signing: Hibs didn’t sleep on tying down the Frenchman
Dream signing: Hibs didn’t sleep on tying down the Frenchman

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