Hibs finally get their man as Chris Cadden transfer is completed
The versatile 24-year-old former Motherwell man, who can play in defence and in midfield, has joined the Easter Road club after a spell in the United States with Columbus Crew.
Appearances for the MLS champions have been limited and after just nine games, he has arrived at Easter Road, keen to kickstart his career.
Manager Jack Ross said he was excited by the signing and described him as a relatively young player who can improve the side and help get the club where it wants to be on a consistent basis.
“I’m very much looking forward to working with him. I came up against him at Oxford so I have seen a bit of him recently,” said Ross
"It is about trying to strengthen and improve us and give more depth to the group. [Jackson Irvine and Cadden] are two players who are coming in to compete to start. They are two players who are dynamic in their play as well. looking at where we felt we needed to strengthen, they allow us to be flexibe with our other players as well.”
Ohio-based Columbus Crew had signed Cadden up after he quit Fir Park on freedom of contract 18 months ago but they almost immediately loaned the Scot out to English League One side Oxford United for the second half of 2019.
Hibs manager Jack Ross was in the opposing dug-out, as Sunderland boss, when Cadden made the first of his 23 appearances, but the player, who can operate on the right side of defence or in an advanced midfield role, on the flank or in a central role, returned to the US in time for the start of the 2020 MLS season. He did not feature as much as anticipated, though, and at the conclusion of their season returned home to Scotland looking for a fresh start in the UK.
Ross confirmed there were other teams in interested, with his former club Oxford understood to be keen to reunite but the Motherwell academy graduate, who made over 130 Scottish top flight appearances for the Premiership side, breaking through under Stuart McCall, in March 2014, as part of the squad that finished second to Celtic in the league, feels he has the best chance of realising his ambitions with Hibs. The versatile player has returned to the Scottish top flight in the hunt for silverware and European football.
Hibs clearly remain in a position where it may be possible to deliver both. After a bold start to the season, Ross’ men are currently third in the league and have a Betfred Cup semi final to look forward to next week.
"That is what we are talking about, playing to the end of this season and doing well in the cup and league, said Ross, “but we are also trying to build a squad that is consistently able to do that. I do feel our recruitment has been good.”
The cub also offers the new acquisition a prominent platform from which to make a push for further international honours.
Cadden already has two full Scotland caps to his name, from the summer 2018 tour of Peru and Mexico. New Hibs team-mate Lewis Stevenson joined him on that trip and, having seen several other Hibs players called up to recent squads and others, such as Kevin Nisbet being touted, Cadden is now hoping to catch Steve Clarke’s eye.
"I think that was part of the attraction in him coming here,” admitted Hibs boss Ross, “because he did have other alternatives to consider. That was one of the selling points, for us to help get him back into the plans at international level.”
He is the Easter Road club’s third signing of this transfer window, joining former Arsenal goalkeeper Matt Macey and Australian international Jackson Irvine, both on short-term deals until the end of the season but it is unlikely he will be the last. Ross has admitted that there are still couple of areas of the squad he would like to strengthen.The Leith club have also shown interest in a couple of current Premiership players, whose contracts expire in the summer, but despite being keen to tie them up on a pre-contract deals, they are not the only club to have made advances and they remain wary of entering into a bidding war.
That situation is being monitored but, in the meantime, it is understood that there is scope to bring in at least one more player before this window shuts at the end of the month. But while it is anticipated that existing squad members would have to move on to facilitate any more than that, the Hibs boss has revealed that may happen.
Talking ahead of the Premiership match against Kilmarnock at Easter Road on Saturday, he said he coud not rule out further “reshuffling” of his squad as some players ove on in search of more frequent first team football and others are brought in to bolster numbers and improve the sterngth in depth of the squad as it pushes for as hgh a finish in the league as possible.
Striker Kevin Nisbet, who moved joint top of the Premiership scoring charts with his late goal against Celtic on Monday night, remains a player of interest to several English clubs, and while Hibs manager Ross is in no hurry to lose him, he has already admitted that a ‘head-turning’ transfer fee for the 23-year-old they signed from Dunfermline in the summer would be hard for the club to turn down.
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