Hibernian manager Neil Lennon last night claimed it could take a “silly-money” offer of up to £5 million to prise Jason Cummings from Easter Road. The Edinburgh club have rejected a bid from Peterborough United for the striker which, with add-ons, was worth potentially £1.7m.
Lennon called the offer from [director of football] Barry Fry’s side “fair”, but stressed the club were in “no need to sell” a player on the back of the “good business” of persuading him to sign a new four-year deal over the summer. The Hibs manager maintained that both he and the 21-year-old – who moved on the 50-goal mark for the club with a double to secure a 2-1 opening day victory at Falkirk – had no interest in any move, though he admitted “every player has his price”. Yet even in naming one, that would hardly go on the top line.
“Even if we sell him for £5m, we’re going to have to spend money to replace him, so his actual worth will be less than that,” Lennon said. “If someone comes in with a ridiculous offer then the club have something to think about. But he’s happy here. I spoke to him at length for three or four days over the summer, and he was in the mindset to go. We were able to persuade him to stay, which was great.
“It was good business by the club to get him on a long-term deal, and he’s happy. I don’t think he needs to go. He’s the king here at the moment and long may it continue. Peterborough get these players in young then sell them for fortunes. Why would I let someone do that to us when we can do that ourselves? I still think there’s a lot of scope in Jason to improve, so I would be loathe to let him go just yet. He’s a precocious talent and people pay a lot of money for potential. But I’m telling you now, we won’t sell.”
Cummings is content not just to learn his trade in Leith, but learn how to live outside football under the watchful eye of family and friends in the capital’s environs. “My mind is clear at the moment that my main goal is to help Hibs into the Premiership,” Cummings said, admitting that Lennon’s presence was “one of the reasons” he stayed, before elaborating on the others.
“I’ve been saying that since we got relegated and I am sticking to my word,” said Cummings. “I want to do everything I can to do that. Teams might come in for me but I don’t think I’m ready to go down south. I’m young and I love it up in Edinburgh. I’m in a happy place and I just want to focus on Hibs.
“I’d say I’m not ready to go down away from the pitch. As a player, I think I could go down there and score goals anywhere. But off the pitch ... I can’t even boil an egg, seriously. My mum does everything for me and I would be a bit lost without my family, my mum and my friends. I love Edinburgh, I have never lived on my own and I need to get used to that side more before I go down.”