Hibs transfers: Adam Le Fondre close to joining, loan targets, summer plans

Hibs are close to agreeing a contract with experienced English striker Adam Le Fondre.
Hibs are closing in on a deal for veteran striker Adam Le Fondre.Hibs are closing in on a deal for veteran striker Adam Le Fondre.
Hibs are closing in on a deal for veteran striker Adam Le Fondre.

The former Reading, Cardiff and Wolves forward worked with Hibs’ Director of Football Brian McDermott when both of them were at The Royals a decade ago and the 36 year-old had been pinpointed as a reliable source of goals following the departure of Scotland striker Kevin Nisbet for Millwall.

It is now understood that a deal is nearing completion to bring the man who has one of the best career minutes-per-goal ratio in English Premier League history, to Edinburgh. It is expected that he will join up with his new team-mates when they check back in at the East Mains training centre on Thursday for the start of pre-season testing and training.

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Le Fondre, who was described by McDermott as “the most selfless person” he has ever worked with, is seen as the right type of player and character to help the Easter Road climb the Premiership standings and push for silverware in the cup competitions. A team player, his experience is also seen as something that can be tapped into by the younger, rawer forwards already on the Leith side’s books.

Having spent the past five years with Australian side Sydney FC – who loaned him out to Mumbai City in India during the 2020/21 season – he scored 56 goals in 97 appearances but looks set to swap a life down under for a fresh challenge in the Scottish top flight and European football.

Lee Johnson’s men will play in the Europa Conference League qualifiers, with the first leg of their opening tie scheduled for July 27. The draw for that second qualifying round will take place on Wednesday.

The early start to competitive action means that Hibs are keen to get a lot of their transfer business completed early, but The Scotsman has learned that interest in attacking midfielder Jamie McGrath has cooled significantly, with other options being explored instead as they look to strengthen the attacking midfield area of the team, ideally before the pre-season training camp in Spain on July 6-14.

As well as losing Nisbet in a £2m-plus switch to Millwall, Marijan Cabraja, Kevin Dabrowski, Aiden McGeady and Mikey Devlin have all also moved on during the close-season but the return of Manchester United loanee Will Fish looks set to be rubber-stamped in the coming days, while Johnson also remains hopeful of bringing Burnley’s CJ Egan-Riley back after the two 20-year-olds made a positive contribution in the second half of last term.

Hibs are working to fill as many gaps as possible as early as they can and know they can tap into new rules which make it possible to borrow up to seven players this season. Utilising that recruitment option often requires patience, though.

But Le Fondre means they have found someone with a nose for goal who can spearhead the attack and benefit from the pace and service from the wings, where Elie Youan and the returning Martin Boyle are key assets.

Josh Campbell proved a goalscorer from midfield last term but Johnson would like a greater goal-threat from those deeper lying areas. Kyle Magennis does provide that when fit but given his recent injury history, they are still keen to bring in another attacking midfielder.