Hibs remain tight-lipped over Martin Boyle transfer speculation following reports of Stoke City interest

Michael O’Neill linked with £1m move for winger

Martin Boyle is reported to be attracting interest from the English Championship. (Photo by Gary Hutchison / SNS Group)
Martin Boyle is reported to be attracting interest from the English Championship. (Photo by Gary Hutchison / SNS Group)

Hibs have refused to be drawn on whether they have received any bids for Martin Boyle following reports linking the winger with a seven-figure move to the English Championship.

Stoke City boss Michael O'Neill, the former Easter Road favourite who recently left his post as Northern Ireland manager, is reportedly considering a £1m bid for the Australia international, with Huddersfield Town also said to be interested.

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Celtic were also linked with a move for Boyle in January with Neil Lennon known to be an admirer of the player following their time together in Leith.

Boyle has 12 months remaining on his contract and while Jack Ross may be keen to hold onto one of his star men, any firm offers are likely to test Hibs' resolve with the club looking to make urgent savings due to the "substantial and unsustainable strain" on finances caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, as outlined in chairman Ron Gordon's stark warning message last week.

The players have been asked to take wage cuts on top of the deferrals that were agreed following the shutdown, while redundancies are also a possibility, with the positions of a number of non-playing staff, including first team coach Grant Murray, reported to be under threat.

A sizable transfer fee could help offset some of the cutbacks, while Hibs will also be keen to avoid losing one of their prized assets for nothing next summer with the 27-year-old free to speak to other clubs over a pre-contract agreement come January.

Boyle has become a talisman at Easter Road since joining from Dundee in 2015, scoring 31 times in 165 appearances.

He battled back from two serious knee injuries to help get Hibs' season back on track following an inauspicious start under former head coach Paul Heckingbottom last term, and had been set to feature in the Copa America this summer with Australia before it was postponed to next year due to coronavirus.

In a recent interview with the Evening News, the pacy forward spoke of the possibility of following in the footsteps of John McGinn after watching his ex-team mate seal a move to Aston Villa where he now competes in the English Premier League.

"I’ve seen players at Hibs flourish over the years and didn’t see why that couldn’t be me," he said. "I saw boys move on to bigger and better things, the likes of John McGinn, and it just shows you what can be done if you keep your head down and continue to work hard.

“The facilities at Hibs mean there’s no excuse or reason. You’ve got the best of gear so if you can just give it your all, and be a dedicated pro, then you’ll have a chance.

“We’re also lucky we’ve had good coaches and all the backroom staff at Hibs, so we have everything there for us to move on to an even bigger stage. But, if not, Hibs is a massive club. I’ve been there for five years and I’ve enjoyed every single minute of it.”

One player likely to depart is striker Florian Kamberi, with Hibs looking to offload the frontman due to his fractured relationship with the support following comments made during his loan spell at Rangers.

Having already turned down two cut-price offers from Hull City, the Edinburgh club remain hopeful of at least recouping the £150,000 fee they paid Grasshopper Zurich for the Swiss-born striker two years ago, but whether that value can be met in the current climate remains to be seen.

Despite earning praise for his performances at Rangers and featuring in the club's Europa League win over Braga, the Glasgow side have yet to make a move for the 25-year-old with Steven Gerrard believed to be prioritising other targets.