Did this summer signal the beginning of a new trend for young Scottish football talent?
While a raft of foreign players can be found plying their trade in the SPFL, there has not been quite so many young Scottish players moving in the opposite direction in recent years.
Scottish players have often been accused of being home birds – not willing to travel any further than across the border to England to further their careers.
In years gone by Paul Lambert, Graeme Souness and Steve Archibald are amongst the Scots to have succeeded while playing in foreign lands but recently there has been a lack of young Scottish talent making that move abroad.
However, a number of youngsters bucked that trend this summer, with Ryan Gauld, Tony Watt and Islam Feruz joining the likes of Jack Harper, Barry Douglas and Andy Driver in signing for clubs out with the British isles.
A lot is expected of the latest talented trio but are the three moves the start of a new trend or simply the three best moves for the three individuals involved?
Gauld believes his style of play and further development will be best suited outside of Scotland. The move to Portugal, to play in one of the most respected football academies in world football, looks like the perfect step for the former Dundee United man.
Gauld has played a number of games for the Sporting Lisbon B team and has also scored his first goal for the side, while he has also been named as part of the club’s Champions League squad. A promising start for the youngster from Laurencekirk.
Watt burst onto the scene as a talented teen, joining Celtic from Airdrie and netting a double against Motherwell in his debut before further enhancing his reputation with a memorable goal against Barcelona. Since then his attitude has been questioned and he has fallen out of the first team plans at Celtic Park, however, his move to Belgian side Standard Liege again looks a good move which should help him get back on track.
He has already played five games this season and netted his first goal for the club in mid August.
Unlike Gauld and Watt, Feruz is only going abroad on loan. The former Celtic youngster has impressed in the Chelsea youth ranks but such is the competition at Stamford Bridge, he is one of a staggering 26 Chelsea players to be sent out on loan to help prepare him for the step up to the Chelsea first team. Feruz has joined OFI Crete for a season where he will relish the opportunity of first team football.
The transfers abroad may all be for different reasons and may not be the start of a new trend but the three mentioned moves, as well as those already playing abroad can only be good news for the Scottish national team.
With the players learning new playing styles and cultures as well as adapting to new languages and conditions, this can only benefit their own careers and, in turn, have a positive impact on Gordon Strachan’s national team.
Scottish players abroad
Ryan Gauld (Sporting Lisbon)
Jack Harper (Real Madrid)
Tony Watt (Standard Liege)
Barry Douglas (Lech Poznan)
Jordan Morton (Lokomotiv Plovdiv)
Islam Feruz (OFI, on loan from Chelsea)
Adam Moffat (FC Dallas)
Andy Driver (Houston Dynamo)
Stevie Lennon (FH)
Jordan Halsman (Breidablik)
Iain Williamson (Valur)
Mark Taylor (Vikingur)
Alan Lowing (Vikingur)
Harry Monaghan (Vikingur)