Anthony Stokes has recently reached an agreement with Blackburn Rovers boss, Tony Mowbray, over the remaining two years left of his contract, which has seen that the striker will leave Ewood Park with immediate effect.
Stokes is leaving the club after not having featured in pre-season under Mowbray and having only one appearance since he took charge in March. Since arriving in East Lancashire from Celtic last summer on a three-year deal, Stokes has made just 12 appearances and three goals, and has had well documented personal problems.
This has left the door open for Hibernian to swoop and snatch up the 29-year-old striker, which is something Hibs boss Neil Lennon has wanted to do for some time.
It is exactly the signing that every Hibs fan wants to see – the return of a Scottish Cup legend to East Road. He became a legend in their eyes back in May 2016 when he scored two goals out of three against Rangers in the Scottish Cup final, which meant the Cup was heading to Leith for the first time in 114 years.
Hibs have been pursuing the Irishman throughout the summer, and even had a loan offer in January rejected.
And now he could possibly be returning to the club, and back under Lennon’s care as he was in Celtic, after the Hibs boss has said he has made Stokes a “very good offer” to return to Easter Road.
So, is the former Celtic star a good match for Hibs? Could the club get his career back on track?
At this point in Stokes career, after not having made many appearances, he needs to play. And not only that, but to play for a club that want him on the pitch instead of not putting him on out of worry.
Stokes could also benefit from playing under a manager who knows him well; a manager that knows his skills and strengths and can set him up in a game where he can play to them. Also, having a manager who can deal with all of Stokes smaller issues would be beneficial to him – and Lennon is the perfect manager for that because he has dealt with Stokes before and understands him.
After his performance in the 2016 Scottish Cup final, it is clear to see that he is a big player with loads of potential and the kind of player who enjoys the big games. Playing at Hibs could mean he gets more of a shot to play at these bigger games.
He also seems to be very happy when he plays in Scotland, which could be another reason why Stokes would want to return to a Scottish club.
Lennon has told BBC Sport that he feels there is a better chance that the striker would want to reunite with him at Hibs.
“I do think his best years came under me at Celtic,” said Lennon. “So that will certainly work in my favour.”
Lennon also told The Scottish Sun that coming back to a club that adores him could be greatly beneficial for Stokes.
“The ball is firmly in Anthony’s court. You are never confident but we have made him a great offer.
“He is loved for his contribution in the Scottish Cup Final and even if he doesn’t come here that won’t decrease at all.
“It would be a good start for him walking in the door where he’s adored. I’d be disappointed if he didn’t come but I wouldn’t lock myself away and go in a strop if he doesn’t.”
Stokes response to Hibs’ offer is expected at the end of the week.
Featured image courtesy of BBC.