BY ALAN TEMPLE – CCP_Sport
NEIL LENNON has told star duo John McGinn and Jason Cummings that they are going nowhere unless an interested party makes Hibs an offer that is too good to refuse.
The pair addressed their respective futures on Thursday as they were unveiled as nominees for PFA Scotland player of the year to mark their contributions to the Hibees’ Championship title win and run to the Scottish Cup semi-final.
Cummings, who was the subject of a rejected £1.8 million bid from Peterborough United last summer, is contracted to the Leith side until the summer of 2020 but said “I want to challenge myself at a higher level and my job at Hibs is done a wee bit with what I wanted to do.”
While both players did state they were content at Easter Road, the comments did not go unnoticed by Lennon.
Ahead of their encounter against Ayr United, he said: “The two lads speaking yesterday, Jason and John – they won’t be going anywhere unless this club wants them to go. Until that happens, they will be playing for Hibs.
“They are on long term contracts and we were right to do that. That’s certainly the case with Jason, while John has another year or two – but maybe we will look to give John an extended contract as well.
“We were a Championship team that turned down £1.8 million for Jason, and now we are a Premiership team. For any potential suitors – they know that every player has a price, but that will be dictated by the club and not anybody else.
“We are speaking hypothetically but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was interest in both those players. But they are on cast iron contracts and if anyone is interested then it is going to cost them a lot of money.
“That’s especially true when you have been promoted. You want to keep the momentum going. You don’t want to break it up, you want to add to it. With the quality we already have, we want to add players who can make us better and stronger and we want to challenge next season.”
Lennon has revealed that he wants that strengthening process to include the signing of Efe Ambrose on a permanent deal following a string of dazzling displays during his loan from Celtic.
The 28-year-old is out of contract at Parkhead this summer and the Northern Irishman has confirmed that he will seek talks with the defender and his agent in the coming weeks.
“It will depend on his own personal circumstances. He’s just had a baby boy. Does he want to stay in Scotland? If so, there aren’t many better clubs outside Celtic than here. Does he see himself in England? If so, there are visa issues he’d have to consider. He has a lot to think about over the next couple of months.”