Hibs 'close' to Steven Whittaker signing after Norwich City exit, says Neil Lennon

Steven Naismith congratulates Steven Whittaker after the latter scores for Norwich
Steven Whittaker (right) scored once for Norwich last season

Head coach Neil Lennon believes Hibernian are close to signing Steven Whittaker but admitted they have missed out on Cambridge United's Luke Berry.

Former Hibs right-back Whittaker, 33, has been released by Norwich City, while 24-year-old Berry was wanted to bolster their midfield.

"I think we are close with Steven Whittaker, although talks are still ongoing," Lennon told BBC Scotland.

"We did bid £250,000 for Luke Berry, but that deal fell through."

Berry, who returned to hometown club Cambridge from Barnsley in 2015, scored 22 goals in 52 appearances as the U's finished 11th in England's League Two.

And Lennon said the bid was evidence that the Edinburgh club's board are willing to spend in order to bolster the squad that won Scotland's second tier last season.

"The fans are getting a bit restless, but they have to be patient because it is not an exact science bringing players in," he said.

"We've missed out on a couple and brought through a couple and that just happens in the transfer window.

Cambridge United midfielder Luke Berry
Hibs failed with an attempt to sign Luke Berry from Cambridge

"We've got until 31 August, so there's no need to panic.

"We have to be patient sometimes and, in my experience, the longer the window goes on, there are some good players who become available at the right price."

Hibs have already paid out to make goalkeeper Ofir Marciano and defender Efe Ambrose, who had been on loan last season, permanent signings from Ashdod and Celtic respectively.

Meanwhile, midfielder Danny Swanson and striker Simon Murray have come in after leaving St Johnstone and Dundee United.

"I am looking for at least three or four more. We are a bit thin at the minute," said Lennon, whose preference is to sign British players "unless you get a very good foreign player".

"But we are in a good position, we want to get the right players in and hopefully we will."

Whittaker, who began his career with Hibs before joining Rangers in 2007, had spent five years with Norwich.

However, the versatile defender, who can also play in midfield, fell out of favour last season under Alex Neil at Norwich and only made 10 starts, with five more as a substitute for the Championship outfit.

"That would be a great signing for us," added Lennon of the player who has 31 Scotland caps.

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