Martin Boyle: Shaun Maloney discusses Hibs transfer progression and Scottish Cup omission

Martin Boyle looks to have played his last game for Hibs, but boss Shaun Maloney has praised his player’s professionalism after Al Faisaly tested the Easter Road resolve with a third and improved transfer bid for the winger that is now being considered.

The Saudi Arabian club had already had two offers rejected earlier this month and though they moved on to another target after a £2m offer was turned down, a third has now been received.

That led to Shaun Maloney omitting his talisman from the Scottish Cup squad to face Cove Rangers last night, yet while the manager cautioned that there was “nothing too definitive at the moment” the winger’s transfer status could change within the next two days.

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“There’s been progression within that situation,” Maloney admitted during a club interview. “Martin has been very, very professional and we’ve both been very clear and now we’re at a stage where it has progressed – I had to make a decision that was best for the team and best for Martin.

Martin Boyle celebrates scoring for Hibs against St Johnstone at Easter Road, on September 25, 2021. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

“That’s where we’re at, in the next 24 hours we might have a bit more to say but throughout the situation Martin has been very professional.”

Boyle was signed up on a long-term contract until summer 2024, giving Hibs plenty of clout in the transfer negotiations with manager Shaun Maloney admitting that there had been interest but insisting that there was “no real decision to make” until their valuation was met.

That forced Al-Faisaly to dig deeper and meet the Easter Road asking price.

The Saudi Arabian side had twice failed to meet the Scottish Premiership club’s valuation of the talismanic Australian international, who has already netted 14 goals in 28 club appearances this term, but they have upped the ante and now look set to sign up Boyle on a financially life-changing two-year deal.

Martin Boyle has caught the eye in performances for Australia and Hibs this season. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Hibs were already facing the possibility of Boyle missing games through Australia’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers, which were due to rule him out of the matches against Motherwell, St Mirren and Hearts. Assessing the situation, the Hibs boss had said that he would have to be creative in seeking solutions as no-one else in his squad possesses all the same attributes as the versatile attacker. That now needs to be a more permanent answer.

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