HIBERNIAN manager Alan Stubbs has insisted that the club holds all the aces when it comes to prized midfielder Scott Allan.
The Championship Player of the Year has been linked with a summer move and both Premiership champions Celtic and Hibs’ league rivals Rangers have been credited with an interest, but the Easter Road boss believes that they can repel any advances that do come along.
Speaking as the club confirmed that centre-half Liam Fontaine had signed a new two-year deal, Stubbs said that negotiations were ongoing to tie up Allan on a longer-term deal, but said that if those discussions were to stall he would be comfortable with the notion of the player seeing out his contract and leaving for nothing at the end of the campaign, making it clear that the club would demand lofty recompense if he was to be lured away sooner.
“We’ve been in negotiations with him and been very proactive,” said Stubbs, who will welcome his players back for the start of pre-season training today. “There’s been no pressure. If Scott decides to let his contract run down, we’re respectful of that. Scott is going to be here for the rest of the season and after that he is a free contract but we’re the ones controlling this situation. We’re prepared to let that contract run out for the next year, but we would like him to sign a new deal because he is integral and a very important player for us.”
Stressing that no formal bids have been lodged, Stubbs will be happy if that remains the case but if the situation changes, he is confident he will not be blindsided.
“Nothing has happened so there’s no point in talking about it. But I’ve got a strong relationship and get on great with Leeann [Dempster, chief executive], Rod Petrie [chairman] and all the directors. We had a bid for Scott in the January window and we all agreed he wasn’t leaving.
“If a bid came in for anyone then we’d discuss it and I’m sure my input would be taken on board. Let’s see what happens from now until the beginning of the season. If someone wants to come in and bid £3 million for Scott then it’s not a problem!”
But he stressed that Allan will report back for pre-season training today and he expects him to still be a key member of the squad when the competitive action starts in August. “He’s a Hibs player,” said Stubbs. “I’ve heard about the speculation and I’m delighted because when you have good players there’s always speculation. He knows what we want him to do but there is a mutual respect there. He’s at a big club. We’re not talking about us being a really small club.
“I understand the size of Celtic and Rangers but Scott has flourished in this group of players and there has been a really good chemistry between the both of us. He’s got himself back on the right track and I don’t see any reason why he should change.”
Revealing he had been in regular contact with his playmaker over the break, he said he had no