Hibs are facing stiff competition from a clutch of English Championship clubs in their bid to have Brandon Barker return to Easter Road.
Neil Lennon is a big fan of the 21-year-old having tried to sign him when he was boss of Bolton Wanderers and is keen to have the Manchester City winger back in Edinburgh for another season. Barker’s lightning pace – matched by that of Martin Boyle on the opposite flank – proved a potent weapon in Hibs’ armoury as they marked their return to the Premiership following a three-year absence by challenging Aberdeen and Rangers for second place until the penultimate game of the season when being forced to settle for fourth spot.
Barker has two years left on his contract with City and, although he admits to having thoroughly enjoyed his time north of the Border, he accepts decisions on his future will rest very much in his parent club’s hands. The Premier League champions could well judge a spell on loan in a different environment as more beneficial to the development of the England Under-20 player, who was previously farmed out to Dutch outfit NAC Breda.
Although Barker spent ten weeks sidelined by a hamstring injury in the second half of the season, he played 30 games for Hibs and the progress he feels he made under Lennon means he wouldn’t rule out coming back to Hibs if the opportunity were to arise.
The lure of Europa League football would also appeal, but the Evening News understands a number of Championship clubs south of the Border, aware Barker won’t be featuring in City boss Pep Guardiola’s plans, are keeping tabs on his situation with the hope of persuading the Manchester outfit to send the player their way.