Hibs aim to stave off Kevin Nisbet interest with new contract - but within club 'parameters'
Hibs recognised Kevin Nisbet’s potential when they signed him from Dunfermline last summer but, in offering him an improved contract now, they are acknowledging what he actually delivered in his debut season. And the promise he still possesses.
They are also hoping that it will stave off any imminent thoughts of moving on.
The top scorer last season, the 24-year-old was monitored by several clubs and became the subject of a bid from Birmingham City in January.
At that stage the club remained steadfast in their valuation of the player, which exceeded the £3m being touted, and now they are in negotiations with the players representatives, seeking to agree a deal that is more in keeping with the price tag they placed on his head.
It follows on from the improved contract offered to Martin Boyle last week as the club look to reward their most prized assets.
“The conversations had been ongoing for a while,” explained manager Jack Ross. “Until it is concluded, though, and he agrees to sign a new deal, things remain the same, whereby he still has a long contract here. But, certainly, in terms of how much of an asset he has proved to be at the club I think he is deserving of a new contract. The discussions have all been positive to date but nothing has yet been concluded. Hopefully that will be the case soon.”
As well as being given the platform to prove his top flight pedigree, Nisbet’s first season at Hibs also allowed him to convince Scotland boss Steve Clarke of his international worth, forcing his way into the national set-up for the Euros.
“He will want to ensure that he stays in the squad and gets in the team more regularly,” Ross added. “To do that he needs to be playing regular first team football and scoring goals. I’m sure he would back himself to do that if he did move on but he can see first hand that he is getting that at the moment.”
Agreeing financial enhancements on top of his six caps and this season’s introduction to European club football,proves that an immediate move is not necessary to maintain an upward trajectory, according to Ross, although the Easter Road boss concedes that may not always be the case.
“There is always going to be a ceiling on that. I don’t think we are doing anything outwith the parameters we always have to work within but I think when you recruit players from levels below, it is an opportunity for them to prove their worth.
“That is an incentive for players all the time.
“So, all that Kevin has done is take the opportunity to come from the Championship to the Premiership and prove how good a player he is. Any player who does that is deserving of the rewards they get, although, again, that has to be within the parameters.
“If a player gets beyond your parameters, whether that is when you are recruiting them or trying to keep them then you have to step aside and say, ‘ok, that’s fine’, but at the moment, hopefully, we are still able to put together something that works for both parties.
“I still think he has the absolute potential to go and have an absolutely top career.”