Kristoffer Tønnessen: IK Start receive offer for Hibs-linked player, club chief says 'deal is close'
Hibs have submitted an improved offer for IK Start captain Kristoffer Tønnessen, according to reports in Norway.
The Easter Road side were linked with the 23-year-old earlier this month following heightened interest in first-choice left-back Josh Doig and reportedly submitted an offer for Tønnessen that was rejected.
The left-back, who has two goals and three assists from 15 appearances this season, appeared to say his farewells to the Start fans after a 1-1 draw with Sogndal last Sunday, fuelling speculation that he could leave the Sør Arena before Tuesday’s transfer deadline.
Start director Terje Marcussen confirmed to the Fædrelandsvennen newspaper this week that a new offer had been submitted for a player after an initial bid had been turned down for being too low. The player is understood to be Tønnessen and the club Hibs.
"There has been an offer for a player – a new offer,” Marcussen said.
"We are starting to get closer to something that means that there can be an agreement [but] I don’t want to say anything other than there has been a new bid,” he added.
Tønnessen has remained tight-lipped on the speculation but has admitted that he would be open to moving overseas to further his career.
He is under contract until the summer of 2023, having signed a four-year deal when he made the move to Start from FK Jerv in 2019.
"Nothing has been nailed down… I won’t comment on anything about clubs but I have ambitions to play abroad at some point,” he told the paper.
Tønnessen remained coy over whether he would feature in Sunday’s 1. divisjon clash with league-leaders Hamarkameratene.
"It depends on the team that Sindre [Tjelmeland, Start head coach] picks,” he said, before commenting “You can never say anything for sure in football” when asked if he would be a Start player after the transfer window shuts on August 31.
Hibs head coach Jack Ross told the Evening News he was “pretty confident” of bringing in more faces before the end of the window.
He added: “I would be really, really surprised and disappointed if we didn’t add to the squad. We have worked pretty hard but I want to make sure that we bring in ones who can improve us and not just sign players for the sake of it.”
Meanwhile, Hibs are waiting for a response from St Johnstone on an improved bid for their defender Jamie McCart.
According to The Scotsman, Hibs have submitted another bid but face competition from clubs south of the border.