Martin Boyle to leave Hibs? The £1million per year claim as Middle Eastern clubs and Celtic get set to make move
Hibs are facing a battle to keep hold of star forward Martin Boyle amid strengthening interest from the Middle East and Celtic.
The 28-year-old Australian internationalist is Hibs’ top goalscorer with 11 strikes this season, as well as providing numerous assists, and despite signing a new improved contract last season, suitors continue to circle for the former Montrose and Dundee man.
Hibs rejected a bid last month from Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Faisaly, believed to be around £500,000 plus add-ons, but there are several clubs in that country, plus the UAE, Qatar and China, who have been impressed by Boyle’s performances. He has come on to Asian clubs’ radar on the back of his displays for the Socceroos, who are in the mix for World Cup qualification.
Reports emerged over the weekend that an unnamed Saudi Arabian club are prepared to offer Boyle an annual salary of £1m per year and Hibs are braced for further bids for the player.
While Boyle is happy at Hibs, a club he has been with since 2016, the amount of money being proposed is, naturally, of interest to him.
Celtic have also been linked with a move for Boyle, with their manager Ange Postecoglou an admirer of his work-rate, attitude and pace. Hibs are reluctant to sell any of their players to cinch Premiership rivals, however, and turned down an audacious bid from Aberdeen to buy Boyle last summer.
New Hibs manager Shaun Maloney has already reinforced his squad this week with the triple signing of Ewan Henderson from Celtic, Elias Melkersen from Bodo/Glimt and Harry Clarke on loan from Arsenal. They also have US internationalist Chris Mueller and young Raith midfielder Dylan Tait joining them after January deals were brokered for them in the first part of the window.
Hibs could be without Boyle for three league matches, including the Edinburgh derby against Hearts on February 1, with Australia set to call the forward up for two crucial World Cup qualifiers.
Maloney will not want to lose one of his key players on a permanent basis, but given the life-changing amount of cash potentially on offer, Hibs may have to manage a delicate transfer situation over one of their most important players.