Neil Lennon feels the performances of Scott Allan, Florian Kamberi, Jamie Maclaren and Brandon Barker while on loan at Easter Road have been “a great advert” for Hibs and will help entice new players to the Capital club.
The quartet are all returning to their parent clubs and, although Lennon revealed he’d love to see some of them back next season, he conceded that in the case of each finances could dictate what happens.
Lennon faces the challenge of rebuilding his squad with midfielder Dylan McGeouch also heading for the exit door, the Hibs boss admitting he was “a little frustrated” at having to do so after the success of the past two seasons but accepted the “reality of it.”
Midfielder Allan will return to Celtic after a second spell in Edinburgh claiming to be a better player for having done so, while stating Hibs have moved on “ten fold” since his first season.
Kamberi is due to rejoin Swiss outfit Grasshoppers Zurich, although Hibs have first option on the striker, while Maclaren and Barker both have two years of their current contracts to run at German side Darmstadt and Manchester City respectively.
However, Lennon believes that all four have benefited hugely from their time in a green-and-white shirt. He said: “I think the club has been good for the players here on loan and they have been good for the club.
“But, in terms of profile and performance, the style of football, I think they will look back on this period as probably one of the fondest in their careers. They are young players who have maybe lost their way a little bit and Hibs have given them that opportunity to show what they can do – and they have certainly done that.
“That in itself is a good advert for the club in terms of attracting players.”
Lennon has previously admitted he took a gamble during the January transfer window in replacing Hibs’ two top scorers, Anthony Stokes and Simon Murray, with the unknown Kamberi and Maclaren, the pair vindicating his decision by scoring 17 goals between them in the second half of the season.
“I would love to have them both back,” revealed Lennon. “We have an option on Flo but it may come down to finances. Jamie is out of our control at Darmstadt and the way he has been scoring goals he’d probably walk back into their first team.
“Brandon is an exciting young talent but he is a Manchester City player. They may want to cash in on him and that would be a little bit too rich for us.
“In terms of Scott, that’s complicated because he is Celtic’s player and I think Brendan Rodgers has intimated they may want to move him on. I am sure there will be a hefty fee involved.
“But it has been a joy working with them. a real joy. It’s been good to see good footballers play good football.”