Free transfer options for Hibs this summer as Lee Johnson and Brian McDermott aim to strengthen squad
Hibs will be looking to strengthen their squad in several areas this summer, with new director of football Brian McDermott working with manager Lee Johnson on priority positions.
Centre-back will be one of them. Will Fish and CJ Egan-Riley will return to Manchester United and Burnley respectively at the end of their loan spells and Mikey Devlin, who joined on a short-term deal in January to provide cover, is expected to depart after getting only a few minutes in the final game.
Ryan Porteous, of course, left for Watford in January. That leaves club stalwart Paul Hanlon and Rocky Bushiri, who has only recently returned from injury, as the only two senior centre-back in the squad.
With Kevin Nisbet expected to attract interest from down south, Mykola Kukharevych returning to Troyes and Matthew Hoppe to Middlesbrough at the end of their loan spells, Hibs will also be looking for a new striker. Central midfield is another area Johnson will be looking to strengthen in order to find a better cutting edge in the final third.
It’s not easy to compete in the transfer market with EFL Championship and even League One clubs down south who can offer far more in wages, so Hibs have to be clever. McDermott will certainly bring in some fresh ideas and Johnson will tap into his connections with the City Football Group.
Here are 10 players who are out of contract this summer that could be worth considering. What do you think?
1. Lucas Joao (striker)
The 29-year-old Angolan striker is out of contract at Reading, who were relegated from the Championship. Hibs director of football Brian McDermott's Reading connections means the club will be well aware of him. Joao has attributes that would suit the Scottish game. He has physicality to compete with defenders, but he can also run in behind and score goals. He scored just seven times in the season just finished, but in the two seasons prior to that netted 29 times in 63 games. Photo: Zac Goodwin
2. Paul Smyth (right winger)
The 25-year-old is probably out of Hibs' price range but would be a very good acquisition. He plays with energy and exuberance and has an eye-catching goal celebration. A Northern Ireland international, Smyth scored 10 goals and provided three assists as Leyton Orient were crowned SkyBet League Two champions. A player who is sure to be attracting attention from elsewhere. Photo: James Manning
3. Alex Pattison (central midfielder)
The 25-year-old, who came through the ranks at Middlesbrough, has made it clear he is looking for a new club after seeing out his two years at Harrogate Town in EFL League Two. His manager recently described him as the best best counter-attacking central midfielder in League Two. Pattison collected eight goals and six assists from 39 appearances in the season just ended, taking his tally to 18 goals and 12 assists during his 86 appearances for Harrogate. Although he is aiming to play in EFL League One, he could perhaps be tempted by the top flight in Scotland and the prospect of European football. Photo: Pete Norton
4. Jonny Williams (attacking midfielder)
It is no secret that Hibs are interested in the former Wales international, who is is a free agent after leaving League Two Swindon Town. Now is the perfect time to make a move. The 29-year-old is left-footed and an experienced attacking player who won 33 caps before announcing announcing his retirement from international football in March. He can count Crystal Palace, Charlton Athletic and Cardiff City among his former clubs and scored 10 goals in 39 games for Swindon in the season just ended. He could be just the man to get the best out of former Swindon striker Harry McKirdy at Easter Road. Photo: Catherine Ivill