Ofir Marciano breaks silence on Hibs future as he hints at summer exit amid Premier League claim
Ofir Marciano has dropped the biggest hint yet that he will leave Hibs in the summer when his contract expires.
The Easter Road side has been in talks with the goalkeeper over extending his deal but in an interview in his homeland he suggested he was ready to move on.
Israeli Premier League side Hapoel Be’er Sheva had been credited with an interest in the 31-year-old as part of their planning for next season but the ‘keeper does not appear ready to go home just yet.
"Once we get to summer I will think further,” Marciano told Ynet. “I am happy in Europe and feel that the next step can be taken.”
Celtic are understood to be monitoring the former Ashdod shot-stopper’s situation, having struggled to find a settled No.1 during the season in which they lost the league title to Rangers, and exited Europe with a whimper. Compatriot Nir Bitton is a close friend and the two families often spent time together pre-pandemic, while both Marciano and wife Shelly have spoken of their love for Scotland and how settled they are in the country with son Sun and a second child due in the summer.
Marciano has been guarded about his future, suggesting last month that he was concentrating on finishing the season strongly, with Hibs targeting a third-place finish and European football next term.
He said: “The most important thing is to finish as high as we can for the club. After that we have time to think about these things but the most important thing for me is to play good in every game and stay focused for the rest of the season.
“I’m not trying to hide it, I’m happy here but I’m trying not to think about my contract. I’m thinking about trying to improve my game.
“For me, the most important thing is to play good for the club. Without that I won’t get any opportunity, not here or at another place. I know my value.”
Premier League aspirations
Asked if the English Premier League was a possibility, Marciano replied: “It’s a big statement, but I think I can play in the Premier League.
"My abilities are known in Britain; I’ve had five very good years in Scotland.”
In 22 Scottish Premiership games this season, Marciano has recorded 12 shut-outs, won plaudits for his performances in key games and conceded just 22 goals, and is on track to record his best figures for clean sheets and goals conceded since joining Hibs.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, he is also on target to record his highest league appearance total in his five years in Edinburgh.
Assessing his performances and current statistics he continued: “I don’t know if this is the best season of my career but it’s probably the most stable.
"I earn the team points, and I’ve had a lot of good games.
"It’s a competitive league. The pace is crazy, it doesn’t stop for a moment. The level has gone up, there is more money, and players prefer the Scottish league to the English lower divisions.”
For now, Marciano is focused on achieving that third spot which would mark Hibs’ best return during his time at the club. If he is to leave this summer, he can play a key role in ensuring he goes out on a high.