Hibs’ Paul Heckingbottom on Funso Ojo: ‘If players don’t want to be with us, we don’t want them’
Paul Heckingbottom has insisted Hibs have done all they can to entice Belgian midfielder Funso Ojo to Easter Road.
The Capital outfit and Premiership rivals Aberdeen both had six-figure offers accepted by Ojo’s current club Scunthorpe United, but reports on Friday evening suggested that the 27-year-old had chosen a move to the north-east, with the player set to be unveiled on Saturday on a two-year contract.
Hibs had initially looked favourites for Ojo’s signature when it appeared he’d become a free agent following Scunthorpe’s relegation to League Two, but the Yorkshire side were adamant he hadn’t, after all, triggered a release clause.
Hibs were then joined in the chase to land him by the Dons and Heckingbottom claimed to be relaxed about the outcome – even if Ojo does decide his future lies in Aberdeen.
“We’ll have to wait and see,” Heckingbottom said ahead of Hibs’ trip to Stirling on Saturday. “We’ve done our bit and the reason I can say it because if he comes here great, fantastic. If he doesn’t then he’s gone there for different reasons to what we value as important.
“We can be really comfortable in how we do it and what we do in terms of the contract we offer.
“It’s a fantastic contract. But like the other boys, no-one’s signed here for the financial package we’ve offered. We think it’s bigger and more important than that – the football, the opportunity we give them, how we want to play.
“You’ve got to come here for the right reasons. If they don’t then that’s fine, they value something else.”
Heckingbottom admitted he thought he’d got his man a few weeks ago, but added: “Circumstances have changed. We put the effort and work in at the beginning and if we had got him, that would have been fantastic.
“There was a big complication with the clause between the player and the club.
“We tried to take advantage and now a new opportunity’s come up that’s given us another sniff. But there’s someone else in the mix now.
“If we get him great but if not, there’s plenty of other payers out there and there’s plenty we’re speaking to already.
“Circumstances have changed. We put the effort and work in at the beginning and if we’d got him, that would have been fantastic.
“We’d rather know that this stage. Put it this way: if you’re married and your missus wanted someone else, would you still be with her? It’s just the same. If they don’t want to be with us then we don’t want them. Simple as that.
“The only players I’m bothered about are the ones in our dressing-room and we have to be sure we get good people into our dressing-room.”
Heckingbottom, left, insisted he’s “very close” to having the squad he wants ahead of this afternoon’s Betfred Cup opener against the Binos at Forthbank, with central midfield being the area he feels he’s short having decided against offering South African frontman Ryan Moon a deal following a three-game trial.