Hibs transfers: State of play as the summer window officially opens
The current state-of-play at Easter Road as the summer transfer window officially opens.
Chris Mueller (Chicago Fire), Sylvester Jasper (Fulham, end of loan), James Scott (Hull City, end of loan), Scott Allan, Alex Gogic, Sean Mackie, Innes Murray, Jamie Murphy, Drey Wright
The Chris Mueller era came to a mercifully swift conclusion as the marquee January signing went back to the MLS last month. He wasn’t a bad player, he just didn’t suit Scottish football and, as reportedly one of the better paid players at the club, it was a welcome boost that Hibs were able to get themselves off his contract with little fuss.
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There are no departures from the summer window so far who should have that much of a negative impact on the squad. Scott Allan still had his loyal supporters but it was clear the midfielder doesn’t quite have the legs any more to star for a club with top three aspirations.
Sylvester Jasper could have been kept on after showing more than a few glimpses of being a decent attacking option during his loan spell, but details of the arrangement Hibs held with Fulham that would’ve allowed them to sign him on a permanent basis are unknown, and it was a decision new boss Lee Johnson made after studying the Hibs squad. For the meantime, the manager’s judgement has to be trusted.
Matt Macey is expected to leave Easter Road sooner rather than later with the club currently in discussions with Luton Town over a transfer fee for the towering goalkeeper, while Paul McGinn could also be on his way out despite triggering a contract extension as Johnson has deemed him surplus to requirements.
Momodou Bojang (Rainbow FC, season-long loan), Rocky Bushiri (Norwich City, loan made permanent), Ewan Henderson (Celtic, loan made permanent), Nohan Kenneh (Leeds United), David Marshall (Queens Park Rangers), Lewis Miller (Central Coast Mariners)
A busy and, shall we say, ecletic transfer window so far.
Getting David Marshall was an excellent signing and should give Hibs real solidity at the goalkeeper position. Remember we’re just a year removed from Steve Clarke preferring Marshall over Craig Gordon for the Scotland national team and Hibees will be hoping for similar late-career heroics from the 37-year-old.
There’s an understandable degree of excitement around Lewis Miller. The right-back is a burgeoning talent with the Australia under-23 side, which is where Nathaniel Atkinson starred before his move to Tynecastle last term, and is coming off the back of an excellent campaign in the A-League.
Nohan Kenneh is a young midfielder with plenty of potential, while there isn’t a whole lot to know about Momodou Bojang at the moment as he arrives from Gambia.
The signing of Rocky Bushiri on a permanent deal was met with strong objections from supporters on social media after the news was announced. The defender initially impressed after arriving on loan from Norwich City in January but looked increasingly unsteady as the campaign progressed. He is still young, however, has all the physical tools and plenty of potential. He desperately needs to learn how to win aerial battles, though.
On the radar
Hibs are keen on West Ham United left-back Manny Longelo, who has a couple of appearances for the Hammers under his belt. However, Hibs have informed the Evening News they’re only interested in pursuing the player if they get a big-money offer for Josh Doig.
What they need
Further work may be required on the defence regardless of whether Hibs can fend off suitors in the transfer market for some of their talents. Paul Hanlon regressed last season, while Darren McGregor and Lewis Stevenson are a year older also.
Last term Joe Newell and Jake Doyle-Hayes didn’t look like a particularly suited partnership so another option in the centre is needed, especially if the plan with Kenneh is to bring him along slowly.
It’s up front where the majority of the surgery is required. When will Kevin Nisbet return from his knee injury? Can Christian Doidge put his startingly 2021/22 dip in form behind him? Is Elias Melkersen resady to be a consistently impactful player? What trustworthy options do they have on the flanks? Or at No.10 for that matter?
There are a lot of questions which remain uncertain, but there’s no doubt further reinforcements are needed.
Kevin Dabrowski, Matt Macey, David Mitchell, Jacob Blaney, Harry Clarke, Oscar MacIntyre, Paul McGinn, Darren McGregor, Ryan Porteous, Lewis Stevenson, Murray Aitken, Chris Cadden, Robbie Hamilton, Josh O’Connor
There are three names here which will concern Hibs fans: Chris Cadden, Harry Clarke and Ryan Porteous.
Clarke is on loan from Arsenal for the season but the Gunners could do what they did to Ross County midway through last term when they recalled Clarke because they got a better offer for him to develop elsewhere. Even in a struggling Hibs side the defender impressed after recovering from injury in March last term.
Getting Cadden tied down to a new deal should be a matter of urgency. The versatile right-sided player managed to have a strong enough campaign last term despite the toils of the team around him and could really be unleased in 2022/23 with a better supporting cast. In such a scenario a team south of the border would be well placed to take a chance on the 25-year-old, whose physical attributes should really made him an asset at the Championship level.
Then there’s Porteous. He was excellent last term – disciplinary issues aside – and is so tremendously important to Hibs it would seem unfair to rob Johnson of his best player when he’s just stepped into the job. But if Hibs want a decent transfer fee for the 23-year-old it seems highly likely they’ll have to cash in this summer.
The rest are either youngsters, veterans or back-up goalkeepers.