BY IAIN COLLIN – Capital City Press
Peter Houston insists Falkirk will never stand in the way of their best young talent bettering themselves, as teenage striker Botti Biabi closes in on a six-figure move to Swansea City.
The 19-year-old was down in Wales at the weekend to undergo a medical with the English Premier League outfit and Houston fully expects the move – worth £150,000 up front and a further £150,000 in add-ons – to go through.
Biabi made 31 appearances for the Bairns last season, including an impressive cameo at Hampden in May’s Scottish Cup final defeat to Inverness Caley Thistle, and will join former Falkirk team-mates Jay Fulton and Stephen Kingsley at Liberty Stadium.
And, with Conor McGrandles also having left the Championship side for Norwich City in recent times, and the likes of Scott Arfield having gone south before that, Houston is hopeful Biabi will make the most of his opportunity.
He said: “It’s a good move for him. Botti has to go down there, serve his year there and work really hard at it.
“He’s got really good raw potential, pace, strength and he can score a goal. He’s got lots to learn on the finishing side of it and in his overall, general game, but he’s got a chance, the boy.
“I’m delighted. We’ve said all along that if some team wants the young players at Falkirk, especially if they’re from the English Premier League, we’ll never, ever stand in their way.
“Who are we to deny a young guy, who could go on to be anything or nothing, depending on how he goes about it?”
Meanwhile, experienced midfielder Mark Kerr, who netted the only goal of Falkirk’s 1-0 win over Raith Rovers on Saturday, reckons Biabi’s impending transfer could act as a spur to any other Falkirk youngsters craving a switch south.
The likes of Craig Sibbald, Kieran Duffie and Will Vaulks have all been linked with moves away.
Kerr said: “It’s a great move for Botti. He’s not played a lot of games to get a move down there.
“Hopefully he takes the chance and goes about it the right way, because it’s not easy to get a move like that to Swansea.
“There’s young boys in our team who have played for a number of years and, because of valuation or the timing not being right, they’ve not moved on.
“For Botti, to get that chance is excellent. English teams have got the money and they’re coming up and taking boys now.
“I’ve said that to the boys in the changing room, even the ones who are 21 or 22, if you get up to 100 games they are coming up, sniffing about to take you.
“If you have a good six months you could be away and then go on and kick on.”