Talks ongoing but Hibs finding it difficult to tie down out-of-contract stars
With just 10 league games outstanding, those in charge of recruitment at Hibs have already turned thoughts to next season, when they hope they will be competing in Europe and looking to build on this term’s achievements.
Seeking the club’s first top-three finish in 16 years and only the fourth in his lifetime, manager Jack Ross had made no secret of his ambition to mould the Easter Road side into consistent high finishers and challenge for silverware, but coming out on top when it comes to this summer’s ins and outs will be vital.
There remains English interest in January targets Kevin Nisbet and Ryan Porteous, while another four key players are all free to depart if a better offer comes their way.
Ofir Marciano and Joe Newell have been offered terms to extend their current deals, which expire in May, but neither player has committed themselves to the Leith club beyond the end of the current campaign.
“The club is speaking to them,” said assistant manager John Potter, who admitted Newell has played a pivotal role for Hibs. “Joe’s had an excellent season, he’s probably been one of our best players this season; he’s a quality player.” But he conceded that it has been tough to finalise matters.
“It’s a difficult one, I know the club has been speaking to both players and their agents. We want them here because they are good players. We hope they stay, but that’s something for the club to try and organise.”
On top of that Jackson Irvine, who has made a positive impact since signing last month, only agreed a short-term contract and is also able to move on in the close-season, as is stand-in keeper Matt Macey, but it is hoped that getting the Marciano and Newell deals over the line soon would address some of the uncertainty.
“Other people will be potentially speaking to them and looking at them but we think we’ve got an attractive club at Hibs. We think they’re both in good stages of their career. Hopefully they are enjoying their football, hopefully they can be successful. For me it’s a good place to play and I hope the two of them can stay beyond the end of the season.”