Martin Boyle Hibs transfer: Long process 'disrupted' club, robust but cordial talks, Al-Faisaly negotiations, return clause, support for family

Hibs chief executive Ben Kensell has admitted that the protracted transfer saga over Martin Boyle last month disrupted the team and new manager Shaun Maloney’s plans.

Boyle was subject of multiple failed bids from Al-Faisaly before the Saudi Arabian outfit met Hibs’ £3million valuation.

The Australian left after seven years at the club and Kensell feels the process “dragged on for a bit too long”.

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“He's an unbelievable player, and has been for some time for this club,” said Kensell.

Martin Boyle left Hibs for Al-Faisaly in January.

“He deserves all the plaudits that he gets, but he's also a great person. Throughout the whole period of time dealing with Martin, that was probably the negative around it.

“We lost a good player, but it probably dragged on for a bit too long.

“During that January window, it was a distraction for him, for us, certainly for me, and the way that the transfer was conducted was fine, but it was just protracted.

“There was much going back and forth with the negotiations with Al-Faisaly.

Martin was professional throughout – there were some robust conversations, as there would be. But it was always done in a very professional way.

"Martin has a lot of respect for the fans and for the club, and for the platform he's been given and I'm sure everyone at the club has lots of respect for the opportunity that was being presented to him. In the end, you can't deny a player who has done so well for this football club the opportunity to go out and change their life with a move like that.

Kensell also opened up on the “return clause” that Hibs have should Boyle want to come back to Scotland, with the club having first option on the player.

“We agreed the clause that Martin would come back, as and when he wants to come back to the UK,” continued Kensell.

“We have first refusal on him, and I think that shows the nature of the negotiation and the nature of the relationship that I've got with Martin and the club has, and supporters have with Martin.

“He doesn't want to play anywhere else in the UK except for Hibs so hopefully we've got that position if Martin wants to come back after his adventure.

“We wish him the best out there – he's started well – but hopefully he comes back and he's a Hibs player because we never wanted to let him go. He knows that.

"That was quite disruptive amongst the squad, but also quite disruptive in general for Shaun's plans and for our plans. I'm not exaggerating but I think it would have been one of the best windows this club has had, if we could have retained Martin's services.

“But we didn't and it will be judged for what it is.

Asked if it is a case of when, rather than if, Boyle returns to Hibs, Kensell added: “We're here to support Rachael [his wife], we're here to support the family, we're here to support Martin.

“But ultimately, we have to move on and we have to ensure that Shaun has the tools available to him; players to do the job that we want them to do.

“We've got really fixed objectives, sporting and non-sporting objectives in the club.

“It's very clear and defined now, since I've arrived.

“If and when Martin wants to return to the UK, we welcome him with open arms, but there are still negotiations to be had when he comes back.”

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