Why Hibs fans will have to be patient as they await the return of Martin Boyle
Fans would love to see one of their favourites back in the green and white sooner rather than later, especially as the long-term injury to Aiden McGeady has, once again, limited their options on the wing.
But insiders have warned that a lot of work still needs to be done to smooth out some financial issues ahead of any homecoming.
The club made no secret of the fact that they were disappointed to see their talismanic player leave in January, but they refused to quash Boyle’s opportunity to earn life-changing money by switching to Al-Faisaly, in Saudi Arabia’s Pro League.
But it is understood that there are issues pertaining to that initial sale and possible tax implications for Boyle as well as the clubs that still need to be ironed out.
The 29-year-old was allowed to move on at the beginning of the year after the club accepted a £3m offer from the Middle Eastern side.
A solid pay day for the club, it was also the chance for the player to earn a £1m-per-year salary and set him and his family up for life.
But even then he made it clear that he would welcome the opportunity to return to the Leith side some time in the future, bowing out with a “it’s not goodbye, it’s see you later” post on social media.
That message, along with the knowledge that his wife Rachael – who plays football for Hibernian and Scotland – remained at home with their daughter Amelia tantalised Hibs fans and bosses alike as they have kept close tabs on the player, who has revealed that the couple are now expecting a second child.
Speaking in March, he was positive about his experience in Harmah City and was still hoping that despite managerial upheaval and some disappointing results on the park, he could help his side avoid relegation.
There were celebrations on the international stage as he played his part in helping Australia qualify for this year’s World Cup, in Qatar, but he was brought back down to earth when Al-Faisaly failed to escape the drop and he was forced to re-evaluate his personal and professional choices.
Desperate to be part of the Socceroos squad, it is understood that he is worried that second tier football in Saudi Arabia could damage his chances, while the arrival of his baby at the end of the year is another consideration.
And, clubs have been quick to offer a solution to his dilemma. Boyhood club Aberdeen have made it clear they are interested in taking him to Pittodrie. But Hibs cleverly included a clause in the January deal giving them first dibs on the player should he wish to move on or the Saudi’s choose to let him go.
With relegation hitting their finances, there is now scope for that, as they seek to trim the wage bill.
There are tax implications though, with Hibs insiders talking of “complexities”. But, they will not give in easily, with all parties working towards a mutually-acceptable resolution. They might have to be patient but they do say that good things come to those who wait.
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