January transfer window: What could happen at Hibs?

It will not be so much who might arrive at Easter Road during the next few weeks that will concern Hibs fans but rather whether they'll end the month with John McGinn still pulling on a green-and-white shirt.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 3rd January 2018, 7:52 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd January 2018, 8:01 pm
Hibs are bracing themselves for January interest in star man John McGinn
Hibs are bracing themselves for January interest in star man John McGinn

The Edinburgh club rejected three bids from Nottingham Forest during the summer for the Scotland midfielder, the then boss of the English Championship outfit Mark Warburton keen to entice him south as he had Hibs team-mate Jason Cummings.

But no-one at Easter Road is under any illusion that this transfer window will pass with no further interest in McGinn, the 22-year-old’s stock rising with almost every passing game.

However, as chief executive Leeann Dempster has insisted, Hibs are in no need to sell even although McGinn’s contract only has 18 months to run.

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In saying as much, Dempster also acknowledged the football adage that every player has his price and there may come a point where she and her fellow directors have to balance McGinn’s worth to the club against whatever offers might come their way.

Hibs did so with Cummings, resisting the temptation to sell him to Peterborough United as they deemed his goals more valuable in their short-term goal of finally winning promotion from the Championship than the bid which had come their way, keeping their side of the bargain by not standing in his way when the chance to move to Forest arose a year later.

Dempster has also gone on the record to say she wouldn’t be disappointed if the window were to close with Hibs retaining the exact same squad they have today, one which has steered the club to fourth place in this their first season back in the Premiership.

Head coach Neil Lennon, too, has revealed he doesn’t expect to be over-busy in the transfer market although he is hoping to bring in another attack-minded player, acutely aware that an inability to turn domination in matches into goals has hindered his side’s progress.

Such individuals are scarce on the ground and, invariably, come at a cost, if not in terms of a transfer fee then in wages but, with Lithuanian striker Deivydas Matulevicius, a summer signing, having been told he’s free to find another club, Lennon’s budget could be eased should he do so.

There has, though, been an unexpected outlay in the signing of goalkeeper Scott Bain from Dundee, brought in to offer competition to Israeli internationalist Ofir Marciano with his understudy Ross Laidlaw having been forced to undergo surgery on a shoulder injury.

In recent weeks, Lennon has been forced to sit 19-year-old Polish keeper Kevin Dabrowski on the bench, a gamble he’s unwilling to extend in taking the first opportunity to snap up Bain.

Hibs will head to their winter training camp in Portugal this weekend and, barring an irresistible bid for McGinn, few should be surprised if they return with the same set of players.

Dempster has though also made it clear that if Lennon identifies players he believes can strengthen his squad then he’ll get all the backing the club can afford although both she and her head coach have insisted signings won’t be made purely for the sake of it.