Dylan McGeouch will still be giving serious consideration to staying at Hibs, according to former team-mate Farid El Alagui.
The newly-capped Scotland midfielder is out of contract after four years at Easter Road and is currently on holiday pondering his options. Rangers, Aberdeen, Sunderland and Blackburn Rovers are among the clubs he has been linked with, but a deal remains on the table from Hibs, which manager Neil Lennon recently described as “a very good offer”.
El Alagui, who was a team-mate of McGeouch’s in his first two years at Easter Road and remains in contact with members of the current squad, believes there would be plenty of merit in the 25-year-old extending his stay with the Edinburgh club and is adamant that his former colleague won’t have ruled out this possibility.
“Dylan has got a good problem at the moment,” El Alagui told the Evening News. “I’m sure his phone will be buzzing but he’s a level-headed boy and he’ll know that the main thing is that he’s playing football. He’s had injuries but after playing regularly last season, he’ll want another season of confirming his fitness and getting more game time. There’s no point in him going somewhere he’s not going to play.
“I think, 100 per cent, he will still be thinking seriously about staying at Hibs, especially considering the season Hibs have just had and the fact they are going to play in the Europa League qualifiers. That’s a big thing. I know it will be hard to get into the group stage, but having the experience of playing European games is something you have to think about.
“Also Hibs is a great club. This is not just an ordinary Scottish club. When you’re at a club like this, the grass isn’t always greener somewhere else. If the club is backing you and the manager is backing you and you know you’re going to play under him – and this isn’t just a random manager, this is Neil Lennon – that’s an amazing thing and you have to enjoy that as much as you can because it’s not always the case at other clubs.”
El Alagui doesn’t believe finance alone will be the motivating factor in McGeouch’s decision.
“I’m sure Hibs will have offered the best they can,” said the striker, who has recently left Edinburgh City. “The finance is obviously important but it isn’t everything. You need the right balance between finance and being at the right club. Sometimes going somewhere else for a few extra thousand pounds a week doesn’t work out because you could end up looking for a new club in the next transfer window and then you can find yourself back at square one, wondering where you’re going to go. I would be looking at the bigger picture if I was Dylan.”
El Alagui believes Hibs should leave the offer to McGeouch on the table as long as they possibly can. “Because Dylan’s such a good player, you have to give him a bit of extra time to make up his mind,” he said. “When you bring new players in, it usually takes them time to settle so when you know you have a player like Dylan who is already settled at the club and lives in Edinburgh, the club know what they’re going to get from him if he stays. Obviously Hibs can’t wait too long because it will become harder to get other players in, but I think they should give Dylan a while longer to decide.”