Michael Weir insists Hibs are right not to rush their summer recruitment as anxiety grows among supporters over the lack of new signings so far.
As things stand, the squad that reports for pre-season training on Monday will not include a raft of key players from last season, with on-loan quartet Jamie Maclaren, Florian Kamberi, Scott Allan and Brandon Barker back at their parent clubs and Dylan McGeouch out of contract and mulling over his options. In addition, fringe men Cammy Bell, Callum Crane and Faycal Rherras have moved on.
Hibs are working behind the scenes to replenish the squad but, with their Europa League campaign due to start in just four weeks’ time, there is concern in some quarters that there has not been any additions since last season ended almost four weeks ago.
Evening News columnist Weir understands why supporters are worried but believes the club are correct not to rush their business when they could obtain higher-calibre players by remaining patient until the transfer market enters full swing in July and August.
“A rushed job is never a good job,” said the former winger. “There’s a lot of work to get done but I’m confident that the manager will get everything in place. It might not be done as quickly as we’d like in an ideal world, but the most important thing is that we get the right players to move us forward or at least ensure we stay at the same level as we were at last season.
“It’s all well and good getting five or six players in early, but are they going to be good enough? We’ve seen teams before bring in loads of players and it’s not worked out and then suddenly they need to go and get a whole new batch of players in. We can’t have that at Hibs. The most important thing is to get the job done right. Over time, I’m sure we’ll get the right players.”
Weir pointed out that Hibs’ summer activity is complicated by the fact they don’t yet know how many of last season’s loanees they will be able to bring back or whether the out-of-contract McGeouch or John McGinn, who is expected to attract offers later in the window, will be at the club for the upcoming campaign. Defender Efe Ambrose and goalkeeper Ofir Marciano have also been the subject of transfer talk this summer.
“There are a lot of factors Hibs have to consider in terms of players weighing up contracts, players potentially attracting interest from other clubs and players who have returned to their parent club after being on loan,” he said. “It’s natural for supporters to get a bit anxious when they see other clubs making signings and we’ve not signed anyone but we’ve had some extraordinary circumstances in terms of having players on loan and others who are sought after by other clubs.
“The complicated bit is that we don’t actually know for certain who will be leaving and who will be coming back. That all impacts on the budget and how many players we can bring in. It might be another month or two before we know exactly who will be staying or coming back so that makes it difficult. There is so much that the manager has to consider and there’s a lot of work to be done.
“It was similar last year when we had to wait until the end of July before we got most of our business done. Neil Lennon’s got the experience to deal with this type of situation and I think he’ll come up trumps and get the players he thinks can take us forward. You can’t just add players for the sake of it. They’ve got to meet the criteria of the club and be able to play the way Neil wants.
There’s a lot of work to be done but I’m not overly worried about it. It might take a bit longer than we’d like but the most important thing is that we get the right players in to replace the ones who are leaving. If you rush into things like this, that’s when you come unstuck.”