It feels hardly worth repeating at this point, but this summer is set to be one of major transition at Easter Road.

The full review of football operations promised in Wednesday's open letter to Hibs fans will no doubt encapsulate recruitment and squad planning, which will have implications for who stays and who goes this summer.

It's only when you dig through every facet of the looming rebuild that its potential scale becomes fully apparent - and it is certainly significant. Here, we assess the big personnel questions facing the club's decision-makers.

Contract decisions loom

Hibs have a quartet of senior players approaching the end of their current deals, with no confirmation either way, as yet, as to whether they will stay or go. Naturally, the biggest question marks hang over Paul Hanlon and Lewis Stevenson who have given the club a combined 35 years of service as first-team players.

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Neither, though, have enjoyed significant starting roles this season with Hanlon occasionally partnering Fish at centre-back earlier in Nick Montgomery's tenure before largely being consigned to the role of unused substitute, with sporadic appearances off the bench here and there. Stevenson is 36 and Hanlon is 34, with both almost certainly considering their next steps. If regular football remains their ambition, then the summer may well herald the closing of a historic chapter at Easter Road.

The arrival of Jordan Obita has consigned Stevenson to a bit-part role, with the former's emergence as a key player finally displacing the veteran as Hibs' first-choice left-back. It is a changing of the guard that few have found issue with, although some have questioned how it took until the 2023/24 season to find a suitable successor for Stevenson. 

Hanlon, though, has slipped increasingly to the periphery despite suggestions that Hibs' central defence could benefit from more experience. A second loan spell has given the 21-year-old Will Fish greater first-team experience, making Rocky Bushiri at 24 the more senior option of the two first picks at the heart of defence. The DR Congo internationalist had relatively little first-team pedigree before arriving in Edinburgh and is still relatively young in centre-back terms. Hanlon does not look like a player approaching the end, but could it be the conclusion of his long association with Hibs? Only time will tell.

Calling time on his career could be on the mind of David Marshall, though. The 39-year-old keeper was non-committal when last asked about his future earlier this year, and it seems certain Hibs will already be looking at bringing in a long-term successor for the Scotland international. Montgomery has held Marshall up as an example to others in adapting to his methods, but it remains to be seen whether he is offered an extension to his current terms.

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Adam Le Fondre is the last of the veteran contingent whose future is unresolved. The striker has confirmed he intends to continue playing beyond this season, but it's understandable that consideration of 'where' has taken a back seat to simply getting himself back on the pitch. A knee injury sustained in October sidelined the 37-year-old for several months of the season, but he has shown that he still has plenty to offer when fit. If it works for club and player, there is a one-year extension in his contract that could be activated.

With such a vast level of change expected this summer, retaining the optimum level of experience within the squad is an important consideration and Le Fondre could well be deemed worth keeping around to help provide that.

Loan signings - will anyone stay?

Quite how much Hibs have improved since January is up for debate, but there's little doubt that Myziane Maolida has been the primary source of it. On loan from Hertha Berlin until the end of the season, the forward has contributed eight goals and one assist in his 15 appearances. So many of those have been important moments, and Hibs would likely find themselves in an even worse position had he not been around.

Montgomery has not ruled out the possibility of retaining his services for longer (until it's confirmed as a no-go, why would you?) but it could be a hard sell for a player whose form will be attracting attention from clubs around Europe. Myziane was once among the most highly thought-of youngsters on the continent when he broke through at Lyon as an 18-year-old, and there will be no shortage of managers who feel they can bring out the best in him. It may be a long shot, but the 24-year-old has spoken of rediscovering his zest for the game at Easter Road, crediting the trust Montgomery has placed in him. Hibs can lean on that factor if and when conversations with Myziane take place, but finances will likely present the most obvious barrier.

A similar pitch could be in the works for Emiliano Marcondes, on-loan from Bournemouth until the summer. The Dane hasn't made as strong an impression as Myziane, but his talent is such that Hibs could attempt to leverage the connection with Black Knight FC and their ownership of the Cherries into an arrangement that keeps Emiliano in Edinburgh. Having suffered through an injury-blighted few years, regular football will be of paramount importance to the 29-year-old. His Bournemouth deal also runs out this summer, but the possibility of a one-year extension to facilitate another loan at Hibs is one potential option.

Of the remaining two January loanees - Nectar Triantis and Eliezer Mayenda, both from Sunderland - only the former has spent any significant time on the pitch. Montgomery pushed hard for Triantis in the winter window as his primary defensive target, but he has mainly been used in midfield after some ropey centre-back displays. It feels likely that, at this point, both will return to the Stadium of Light in the summer. 

Areas to strengthen

On top of the goalkeeping and centre-back issues listed above, Hibs will need much more in this summer's market to return to a position of strength.

In midfield, for example, Montgomery has a number of options signed to permanent deals (Joe Newell, Nathan Moriah-Welsh, Dylan Levitt, and Luke Amos) but a certain profile is still missing. For a team that prioritises possession, Hibs still lack a specialist number six, a controller who dictates on the ball and provides security off it. Triantis' defensive instincts are, perhaps, why he has been deployed there, and it has given Newell some added freedom to roam forward at times but the Australian is unlikely to be the permanent solution. Moriah-Welsh is combative and dynamic, but isn't the tempo-setting type. Levitt has bags of technical ability, and although his defensive stats are better than the perception surrounding him, he is more effective in attacking areas. Very little has been seen of Amos due to injury. He is known as being technically sound with a good defensive instinct, but his absence means it's difficult to assess where he might eventually fit in.

In attack, if Myziane and Emiliano do not stick around, it creates two obvious holes to fill, and doing so will not be easy. The lack of a natural number ten hampered Montgomery's system early in the season, and he would surely look for a creative midfielder to play high up the pitch. Having played out of position for much of the campaign followed by a frustrating period of injury, Dylan Vente is yet to have an extended run at proving himself in his preferred role, which arguably pushes the possibility of pursuing another first-choice striker down the priority list, especially given the other areas in need of strengthening.

Players returning - what next?

Hibs currently have nine first-team players on loan at other clubs, all of whom are scheduled to return at the end of next month: Nohan Kenneh, Ewan Henderson, Harry McKirdy, Kanayo Megwa, Dan MacKay, Allan Delferriere, Max Boruc, Riley Harbottle, and Rudi Molotnikov. 

You would expect at least a few of the above to be moved on permanently during the next window. Adding that number to the current squad, even after the expected departures, would make things rather too busy at HTC. Of those listed, Megwa and Boruc feel the most likely to have extended futures at Hibs, with the former briefly recalled amid January's defensive shortage before heading back out to Airdrie.

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For others, though, the outlook is less clear. For example, Delferriere signed a new three-year contract shortly following Montgomery's arrival before joining MFK Vyškov. Still only 22, was that new deal a sign that the club envisage he will play a more prominent role moving forward, or to maximise his value for a sale in the coming months?

And then there's McKirdy, a player who has been forced to fight tooth and nail to even continue his career. A loan back to former club Swindon Town was deemed the forward's best chance of regaining fitness in his comeback from heart surgery, but what awaits him when that comes to an end?

A playing pool of 46 players, combining the current senior team plus all the players out on loan from the first team and the academy, is not a sustainable size of squad. As is often the case in the summer, there will be some young players who aren't offered new deals, but their departure likely won't make much of a dent in what is looking like an uncompromisingly large group of players, even with the academy players - some of whom are still eligible for the under-18s - and those on loan are removed from the equation. 

It's just another point of uncertainty among so many more.