Doumbe stalling over new Hibs deal: Petrie

HIBS today revealed Mathias Doumbe was offered a new deal three months ago - but they are still waiting for a reply from the French star.

And chief executive Rod Petrie claimed he was "quite surprised" the 24-year-old hadn’t put pen to paper, disclosing he had actually lost money as a result of the delay.

Usually Hibs prefer to keep contract negotiations private until the point where a deal has either been struck or finally rejected but Petrie moved to set the record straight after the former Paris St Germain player told the Evening News talks had begun because he wanted to stay at Easter Road.

Since arriving at the club, signed by Alex McLeish, in October 2001, Doumbe has signed a series of one-year deals having only established himself as a first-team regular towards the end of last season.

However, Doumbe has become a key member of boss Bobby Williamson’s side this season becoming the only outfield player to boast an ever-present record after 23 competitive matches. His performances not only attracted the attention of Dundee United earlier in the season but, Petrie disclosed, the offer of a vastly improved contract to extend his stay at the club.

Petrie said: "A very significant offer was made to Mathias in November and I was quite surprised he did not accept it.

"He has changed agents but we had a meeting with his new agents pre-Christmas but they wanted to wait and come back to us.

"There was a brief discussion on the telephone last week but the ball is firmly in the agent’s court to come back to the club once he and his client decide what to do.

"Waiting so long to come back to us means Mathias has lost money."

Despite the apparent stand-off, Petrie insisted there had been no fall-out with Doumbe or his representatives.

He said: "It is not my intention to have a war of words with the player. It has all been entirely civilised and good-humoured.

"The club has said nothing because we did not want to put any pressure on the player as everyone knows he is out-of-contract at the end of the season.

"Mathias has said he is keen to get matters resolved and to stay with Hibs. To do that he needs to speak to his agent and get him to get back in touch with the club.

"He has chosen to deal with matters through the agent and I have no difficulty with that but the ball is now firmly and squarely in their court."