STEPHANE OMEONGA has told Hibernian chiefs that he wants to return to Easter Road on a permanent basis next season.
Omeonga, 24, remains contracted to Genoa until the summer of 2021 but, barring a remarkable change of circumstance, he will not be in the Serie A side’s plan for next term.
And Omeonga has revealed his heart is set on coming back to Hibs after seeing his second loan spell curtailed due to the Covid-19 outbreak – and he remains in regular contact with sporting director Graeme Mathie.
He said: “For the last two years, every transfer window has been uncertain.
“This is the life of a footballer and unfortunately I don’t know what will happen next for me. All I can do is try to make my next move the right one. I would love that to be Hibs.
“I want my next club to be somewhere I can play for two or three years. I know it won’t be another loan deal. I need to find a home to grow and improve as a player. I am 24 years old and I am still hungry to achieve some big goals.
“I think the club know this – I have told Graeme [Mathie, sporting director] and the gaffer [Jack Ross] how I feel.
“I know Scottish football is going through a difficult financial situation after this crisis so I can’t say what it possible. I just need to wait and see.
“Graeme told me he would stay in touch with me and he has kept his word. He is always texting me and asking how I am feeling. Even if he can’t do it in the end, I know he’ll do his best to get me back.”
With budgets likely to be slashed across Scottish football, any move could hinge on Genoa’s willingness to do a cut-price deal.
With Omeonga in the final year of his contract, there is no mileage in another loan move for either party.
Likewise, the Italian side are unlikely to receive a bumper offer for a player who endured a frustratingly stop-start campaign – initially with Cercle Bruges, then Hibs – last term.
He continued: “I want them to understand my situation. If they are smart then they will realise there is no point in asking for a transfer fee at the moment. I have not played enough football this season and there are financial problems in the world.
“It is a very small chance that any club will come and hand over money.
“I hope the thing they do is let me go for free and ask for a percentage of the next transfer.”
While his return to Easter Road fell flat, Omeonga remains a firm fans’ favourite following his first loan spell with the club in the second half of the 2018/19 campaign.
He made 17 appearances for the Hibees, winning over punters with his infectious energy and box-to-box style – and Omeonga admits the failure to recapture that has left him with a sense of unfinished business.
Speaking from his home in Liege, Omeonga continued: “The thing that frustrates me is that I didn’t play enough in my second spell and didn’t show myself properly.
“I played a few games, we qualified for the Scottish Cup semi-final and I scored my first goal. I needed a little bit more time but I was starting to feel more like myself and I was excited for the end of the season.
“That has left me with a feeling of something missing and I would like to fix that.”