He's rarely up nor down in front of the media, but it was impossible to miss Nick Montgomery's excitement when speaking about Emiliano Marcondes.

The Bournemouth attacking midfielder has joined Hibs on a loan deal until the end of the season, looking to put an injury-ravaged period behind him in the process. As with Myziane Maolida, Montgomery confessed the 28-year-old would ordinarily be out of his price range, but some persuasiveness over coffee in Dubai, and co-operation from Bournemouth, helped bring him to Edinburgh.

Marcondes is fit and available for tonight's Premiership clash with Rangers and, on paper, at least, he's as an invigorating a signing as we've seen at Easter Road for some time. Here, the Hibs Observer takes an in-depth look at his career to date, and what he can offer Hibs.


Marcondes joined FC Nordsjælland in 2010, signing on at the age of just 15. His first-team debut arrived in April 2013, marking the beginning of a gradual rise to prominence. In 2013/14, he made 14 appearances, reaching 24 the following campaign. From there, Marcondes established himself as one of the top performers in Danish football; an ascendancy which culminated in him winning the Superliga Player of the Year in 2017.

That summer he signed a pre-contract with Brentford, then an EFL Championship side, before moving to London in January 2018. His stint with the Bees proved frustrating and although it was punctuated with memorable moments, it was largely hindered by a string of injuries that denied Marcondes the opportunity to build sustained momentum.

In hindsight, Marcondes felt he was not deployed in his optimum role, expressing frustration at playing as a number eight, instead of as a 10. He returned to Denmark on loan with FC Midtjylland for the first half of the 2019/20 season, with personal reasons cited as a factor behind the move, before returning to Brentford after the New Year.

In 2020/21, Marcondes did manage 40 appearances for the Bees as they sought promotion to the Premier League. They got there, eventually, via the play-offs, with Marcondes himself scoring the second in a 2-0 final victory over Swansea City at Wembley.

Marcondes later described it as 'possibly the best day of his life', but it was also his final contribution in a Brentford shirt as the club chose not to renew his contract, denying him his dream of becoming a Premier League footballer. He departed with 97 appearances and nine goals to his name, and the best wishes of manager Thomas Frank.

"He got some injuries at crucial moments, but he has been a big part of what we have achieved,” said Frank. “We have always had players doing extra work after training, pushed by the coaching staff, but Emiliano has made that a big part of his time with us. Others have seen his example and we now have lots of players doing extra work. He has driven that."

That summer, Marcondes extended his stay in the Championship when Bournemouth came calling. He initially featured regularly for the Cherries, but was abruptly dropped to the bench by then boss Scott Parker. Parker admitted it was a ‘difficult’ decision and it had been tough on Marcondes, but the player later revealed the manager – like Frank at Brentford - used him as an example to the rest of the team in how to conduct themselves when not playing.

“Parker was honest with me all the way through,” Marcondes told The Athletic. “He was positive about how I carried myself in training. He even used me as an example for the players, ‘This is what I want to see from everyone not playing’ — and that was nice to hear.

READ MORE: Every word from Montgomery Hibs Q&A on Marcondes and Rangers

“But towards the end, he wanted some players with different qualities and told a few of us we should probably look elsewhere. I was one of them and that’s why I was looking into the options I had.”

When Bournemouth returned to the Premier League in 2022/23, Marcondes made just one eight-minute cameo against Liverpool before heading back to his first club Nordsjælland on loan once more. He returned to Bournemouth last summer, but a foot injury which required surgery has sidelined Marcondes for the entire season to date bar a couple of appearances in bounce games and under-21 matches, although he did make the bench for Bournemouth's 3-2 FA Cup victory over QPR, and their 4-0 defeat by Liverpool in the Premier League. 

Keen for more minutes than current Cherries boss Andoni Iraola can offer him, he is now set to join Hibs on loan until the end of the current campaign.

Attributes and statistics

Marcondes is a fine technician, that much is clear. He certainly enjoys a set-piece and gained a reputation as a dangerous operator from free-kicks while plying his trade in his homeland. A clean striker of the ball, Marcondes can provide much-needed goal threat and creativity in the final third for Hibs.

It’s been clear, as cited by two of his managers, that he also displays exemplary work ethic and professionalism, traits which have rubbed off on his team-mates. He could be a player to help raise standards across the board at Easter Road and HTC. He is the epitome of the type of character valued by both Montgomery and Brian McDermott. But his on-field stats are equally reassuring.

For Nordsjaelland in 2022/23, Marcondes registered 72 per cent passing accuracy, reflecting a player charged with taking risks with his use of the ball. Per 90 minutes, he averaged a high 3.45 shots, 0.72 xG, 0.36 xA, 1.55 crosses, 0.6 through passes, and 3.45 passes into the final third.

He is not afraid to take creative responsibility, and the hope will be that he can be the catalyst to reignite a Hibs attack which stagnated towards the winter break.

Where is he most effective?

His preference to play as a number 10 is an interesting point, too. At Brentford, alternations between 4-3-3 and 3-5-2 required Marcondes to play either on the left or right of a midfield three, but his best form came when playing off the striker at Nordsjaelland, and it is a role which can utilise his ability to thread passes, deliver crosses, and burst into the box.

Since Adam Le Fondre was injured back in November, Hibs have missed a player who can effectively link midfield and attack. Of the two central attackers in Montgomery’s 4-4-2, one is required to drop deeper to assist the midfield pairing and is key in successful build-up. The manager has attempted to play Dylan Vente in this role with Martin Boyle as the high central striker, and while this switch has, to an extent, been forced by injuries, it gets the best out of neither player.

Vente, very much a penalty-box striker in the Netherlands, has played much further from said penalty box than you imagine he would like, and the arrival of a natural 10 could be of significant benefit to him. It would also allow Boyle, when his involvement in the Asian Cup is over, to return to his traditional position on the right flank, from where he has been most effective for Hibs down the years.

Hibs Observer:

Marcondes’ heatmap, above, over the past several seasons reflects a player who has been asked to occupy several different roles in midfield. He is not involved so much in deeper build-up play, although he can drop in to start attacks. Marcondes prefers receiving the ball between the lines higher up the pitch, slipping in behind midfield opponents in those half spaces where defenders generally don’t want to go.

In these positions, he can be effective when drifting left and right or playing through the middle. In the example below, Marcondes receives on an inside right position near the halfway line, turning to release a through ball in behind for Brentford’s winger to score.

Having a player who can take up positions as above, and use the ball effectively from there, could be transformative for Hibs. Montgomery acknowledged on Tuesday that Vente has been a square peg in a round hole of late, a striker being asked to do a job for the team because he's the best available candidate. But while the Dutchman is a talented player, scenarios such as the one outlined in the snapshots above are not natural for him. How often have we seen Vente receive on the half-turn and play dangerous passes forward? Not very.

That's no slight on Vente - it's just not his game - but Marcondes could solve that problem while providing service to the wingers and crucially, also take some burden away from the midfield two in terms of covering the entire pitch.

Marcondes can also pop up on the other side, moving towards the left flank. As his set-piece ability suggests, the Dane is a dangerous crosser from open play. Receiving on his left, he checks back inside to his right, which is the trigger for Ivan Toney to make his move at the back post, and Marcondes’ cross is inch-perfect for the striker to head home.

Additionally, Marcondes has also shown a willingness to be the player making penetrating runs. Below, his' positioning in space draws the opposition centre-back out, and that creates room in behind for him to run beyond and receive a pass, which he finishes calmly.

Set-piece specialist

Montgomery said this week that Marcondes got straight to work on free-kicks at HTC, undeterred by the brewing Storm Jocelyn on Tuesday afternoon. He's comfortable taking corners, free-kicks, and penalties, with the latter two a particular weakness for Hibs this season.

"There's an art to it, and he is a specialist in that area," said the manager. A few like the one above - and I'm going to say he meant it, despite the commentator's scepticism - would do nicely for Hibs in the coming months.

Fitness issues

A difficult one to assess, given Marcondes' primary career issue is also a significant reason why Hibs have been able to bring him in - he simply hasn't been able to stay fit for extended periods. Since the start of the 2021/22 season, he has made only 20 senior starts, his career path littered with persistent, unfortunate injuries.

READ MORE: How Hibs signed Marcondes: Timely tip-offs and manic Dubai taxis

At Brentford and Bournemouth, he faced the unenviable task of then trying to force his way back into winning sides, a factor which has also kept his number of starts down. The hope may be that a significant lay-off, and period of rehab, following surgery last summer may have helped Marcondes shrug off any other lingering issues in the process.

And there's also the fact that a loan deal means Hibs don't need him to stay fit long-term, they just need him available for the next few months. If so, his talent should speak for itself.