Ofir Marciano to leave Hibs this summer after goalkeeper rejects new contract offer
Ofir Marciano will leave Hibs this summer after turning down the club’s contract extension.
But manager Jack Ross says that the Israeli goalkeeper is focused on signing off on a high by helping the club cement a third place finish in the Premiership.
The club had hoped to hold onto the highly-regarded international keeper, who signed for Neil Lennon in 2016 and is having arguably his best season in Scottish football. But, despite stretching the budget as far as they could, the 31-year-old has opted to move on at the end of this campaign.
“I can give clarification on Ofir’s situation,” revealed Ross. “Ofir won’t be taking up the offer of the contract beyond the expiry of the current one in the summer.
“He’s been open about that with me. We offered him the best we could within our structure but I think he’s at an important part of his career in terms of his future, and he has a young family with another child on the way.
“He’s in his 30s now and he feels like his future lies elsewhere. I appreciate him being open with me - we have that type of relationship - as it allows me to start to plan for life beyond the summer when he is not with us.
“He has got a strong focus and desire to make sure we finish third in the league but being able to give that clarity to it, it helps to quell speculation.”
Delivering a consistently high level of performance this season, bagging 12 clean sheets in 26 appearances, the third best return in the top flight, his departure will disappoint fans but Ross stressed that the Leith outfit had done all they could within their wage structure to convince him to stay.
“I read and hear some interesting comments in terms of our budget from people who are ridiculously ill-informed. We are miles away from being big spenders. We always do the best we can within our structure to keep our best players. But there’s always a ceiling on that - there has to be in order for us to keep moving the club forward.
“We did the best we could and Ofir was respectful of that. Him and I enjoy a good relationship and the good thing is he felt comfortable enough to come and tell me his decision rather than it dragging on and it becoming problematic.
“We are both clear about where we are at and I don’t think it has affected him in any way in terms of his performance.
“He has enjoyed a successful period here and I think he is determined to finish on a high.”
With back up keepers Matt Macey and Kevin Dabrowski also out of contract in the summer, work is already well underway to rebuild that area of the squad.
“We had to be prepared for every eventuality,” explained Ross. “This means we can accelerate that a bit and gives us clarity, in terms of losing our established first choice.
“We have got a fair degree of stability in large areas of the squad, the goalkeeping department is one we knew could potentially require extensive work. It may still involve some that are at the club. As things stand Ofir won’t be one of them.”