Five things Hibs fans should know about new signing Stephane Omeonga
Hibs have completed the loan signing of Belgian midfielder Stephane Omeonga on loan from Genoa. Here’s a bit more about Easter Road’s new boy...
He’s a first-teamer at Genoa
While he isn’t a regular starter, Omeonga has played 25 times for Genoa in Serie A and the Coppa Italia, and prior to that turned out 31 times for Avellino in Serie B. He isn’t another squad player with no hope of ever breaking into the first team; there are high hopes for him at Genoa, hence having a contract until the end of the 2022 seasons.
He’s an all-action midfielder
In his own words, Omeonga doesn’t just sit in front of the back four, he likes to get forward and attack. In his first interview with HibsTV he said: “I like to go box to box... I like to run, to attack, to defend and help everyone.
“The supporters can expect a fighter. Someone who will never give up. Someone who will fight until the end for the team.”
He’s not beyond picking the ball up in a deep area and driving forwards, either pinging the ball out to the flanks or running at opposition defences. He’s direct, has a decent turn of pace and an eye for a pass.
He’s been capped five times by Belgian Under-21s
Omeonga has played five times for Belgium at Under-21 level facing Cyprus, the Netherlands, Hungary, Italy and Romania. He registered an assist in the last match for Johan Walem’s side in mid-Novem,ber last year.
A half-time replacement for David Heynen, Omeonga crossed for Isaac Mbenza to put the Belgians 3-1 up - although Romania scored twice in the dying minutes to snatch a 3-3 draw. Omeonga is expected to be part of Belgium’s squad for the UEFA Euro 2019 Under-21 Championships later this year and featuring regularly for Hibs in the second half of the campaign will do his chances no harm.
He’s come up against some of the world’s best players
During his time at Genoa, Omeonga has come up against the likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Frank Kessie of AC Milan; Inter duo Ivan Perisic and Stefan de Vrij; Marek Hamsik and dries Mertens of Napoli and Claudio Marchisio, Blaise Matuidi and Douglas Costa of Juventus. At his first club, Anderlecht Under-19s, he came up against current Arsenal first-teamers Alex Iwobi and Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the UEFA Youth League. Long story short, there surely won’t be much - if anything - in Scottish football that will faze Omeonga.
He’s yet to score a senior goal, but...
Although Omeonga is yet to open his account in front of goal, that could very well change at Hibs, if Neil Lennon’s comments are anything to go by.
Ahead of the move being confirmed, Lennon said: “Tactically, [Stephane] is decent. “The thing he doesn’t have at the moments is goals, so maybe that’s an aspect we can add, but we like his all-round game.”