Paul Heckingbottom’s move for Ojo falls through but keeper to sign and Moon on trial
Hibs have taken South African striker Ryan Moon on trial as head coach Paul Heckingbottom prepares to make goalkeeper Chris Maxwell his sixth signing of the summer.
But, revealed Heckingbottom, a potential move to bring Belgian midfielder Funso Ojo to Easter Road has fallen through because of a dispute between the midfielder and his current club Scunthorpe United.
It was believed 27-year-old Ojo was a free agent having activated a “relegation clause” in his contract after United dropped into League Two at the end of last season but Scunthorpe were adamant the former Belgian Under-21 internationalist remained their player.
Now Heckingbottom intends to look elsewhere for someone to anchor his midfield after Mark Milligan had his Easter Road deal brought to an end and Marvin Bartley opted to leave for Livingston.
The Hibs head coach said: “We went down the road of trying to get him, but there’s a dispute between the player and club, nothing to do with us so we’ve had to move on and look at other options.
“We believed and were told he had a clause in his contract that meant he’d be a free agent if they got relegated. The player exercised the right to take that option and release himself from his contract.
“We spoke to Scunthorpe about it and it seemed like we’d get the deal done. But then it didn’t. They blocked it for whatever reason and we said they didn’t have to explain anything to us as it’s between them.”
But Heckingbottom believes Preston North End goalkeeper Maxwell will join Hibs on a season-long loan after travelling to Edinburgh for a medical and insisted the 28-year-old Welshman, who has played for Wrexham and Fleetwood Town, will immediately challenge Israeli internationalist Ofir Marciano for the gloves. He said: “We don’t want to bring a number two in, we want someone who’s going to compete and hopefully make the team better. Chris certainly has the pedigree to challenge for the No 1 spot. Hopefully that’s concluded in the next couple of days. ”
Although he added striker Christian Doidge to his squad this week and retains hope that Marc McNulty may return to Easter Road, Heckingbottom is also casting an eye over Moon.
The 22-year-old, who has eight full caps, is a free agent after his club Kaizer Chiefs decided against taking up the option to extend his contract.