Neil Lennon is facing a race against time to tie up deals for transfer targets Stevie Mallan and Daryl Horgan ahead of Hibs’ Europa League tie with NSI Runavik of the Faroe Islands.
The UEFA deadline to register players for the first qualifying round is this Friday ahead of the first leg in Edinburgh tomorrow week with the Easter Road club, having signed Liverpool goalkeeper Adam Bogdan on loan for the season, keen to sign Barnsley midfielder Mallan and Preston North End winger Horgan.
Lennon is looking to add new faces to his squad, with Dylan McGeouch having joined English League One side Sunderland. Moreover, the future of John McGinn, his fellow Scotland midfielder, is the subject of much speculation as he enters the final year of his contract with Celtic having already had a £1.5 million bid knocked back.
Head coach Lennon has also persuaded Swiss striker Florian Kamberi, scorer of nine goals in 14 games for Hibs while on loan from Grasshopper Zurich in the second half of last season, to make that move permanent by agreeing a three-year contract and hasn’t given up hope of doing like-wise with Scott Allan, Jamie Maclaren and Brandon Barker, who all made big impressions before returning to their parent clubs Celtic, Darmstadt and Manchester City respectively.
Mallan, signed by Barnsley little more than a year ago from St Mirren, has told the Yorkshire club – newly-relegated to League One in England – that he wants to leave and return to Scotland having played only nine matches for the Tykes. However, having forked out an undisclosed fee for the 22-year-old, Barnsley will undoubtedly seek to recoup at least part of their outlay.
Horgan has fallen out of favour under Preston manager Alex Neil despite having joined the Deepdale outfit from Irish side Dundalk only a year ago and moves are being made to bring the 25-year-old to Easter Road on loan as he seeks to become a regular member of the Republic of Ireland squad.
While Lennon would undoubtedly like to tie Mallan and Horgan up as quickly as possible, he has previously shown he’s prepared to be patient in his determination to pursue the players he wants. If Friday’s deadline is missed, Hibs would then have until July 20 to register new arrivals for the second qualifying round against Asteras Tripolis of Greece should they, as hoped, take care of the side from the Faroes.