Hibs transfers, the Easter Road blueprint, and why January could be a busy month
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Firstly, an urgent need to supplement the squad with – at the very least – a centre-back and a striker and secondly, because the Easter Road side hasn’t wasted any time getting business under way – and not just because Chris Mueller and Dylan Tait were done deals well in advance of January 1.
Having a new manager in Shaun Maloney will also be playing a part but more importantly, Hibs need to build on their three consecutive league wins before the winter break when the Scottish Premiership resumes on January 17 because the team is not too far off where it needs to be in the table.
The transfer blueprint is clear to see: a focus on (mostly) younger players who can grow at the club and potentially make the club money further down the line. Think John McGinn.
Mueller is perhaps a bit of an outlier but the presence of the Gordons at Easter Road opens the club up to more left-field options. See also: Elias Hoff Melkersen.
There are some real gems plying their trade in overseas leagues and combining that with identifying talented prospects in the Scottish game and bringing through Academy graduates should put Hibs in a strong place. There will be outgoings too, to help balance the books and the squad.
Development squad curveball
With Hibs restarting their development side, there are likely to be a handful of arrivals to pad out a second-string team. There would appear to be four main types of players in this squad: first-teamers who aren’t getting as much gametime, younger players who are pushing for involvement in the first team; younger players out on loan such as Jack Brydon, and under-18s who are testing themselves against older opposition.
Irish duo Darragh Burns and Johnny Kenny, who were both linked with Hibs last month, would likely fall into the second category. The older members of Gareth Evans’ Under-18s would, obviously, fit the criteria for the fourth group.
The process appears clear: regular matches to keep first-team fringe players ticking over; a chance for youngsters to impress, and sterner opposition for the youth players. This, in theory, should create a pathway to the senior team so that a player can step up if one leaves or is injured.
It should also, hopefully, re-establish a clear route from the club’s academy to the first team. There have been a handful of trialists at HTC in the last few months and the smart money would be one or two of them joining the club in the near future as the development team begins to take shape.
Strong recruitment focus
Hibs need a strong January after failing to adequately recruit in the summer, that much is clear, and the early signs are promising.
Even in recent winter transfer windows the club has been made to wait before managing to bring in reinforcements, so it feels significant that, by the end of this week, Hibs could have two or three new faces in the door incliding, crucially, two players who can fulfil problem areas.
This will give them a chance to settle in, possibly participate in the winter break friendlies, and be ready to hit the ground running against Celtic later this month.