Hibs boss braced for English clubs to try and snatch John McGinn

John McGinn celebrates at full time after his goal helped defeat Asteras Tripolis on aggregate
John McGinn celebrates at full time after his goal helped defeat Asteras Tripolis on aggregate
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Hibs manager Neil Lennon admits he expects English clubs to crank up their interest in John McGinn ahead of the closure of the top-flight transfer window south of the border in just six days’ time.

As Brighton joined the race for the influential 23-year-old yesterday, Lennon also confirmed that Celtic remain the only team to have submitted bids for McGinn.

Talks with the reigning Scottish champions are continuing, with Celtic now having tabled more than three unsuccessful offers for a player valued at around £4 million.

Brighton’s interest in the Scotland midfielder, whose goal in Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Asteras Tripolis secured a 4-3 Europa League second qualifying round aggregate victory, could spark a bidding war and Lennon is bracing himself for increased transfer activity.

Lennon, whose side host Motherwell in their opening Premiership clash tomorrow, said: “I don’t know if there have been discussions or not (with Brighton).

“It’s just speculation but it wouldn’t surprise me. There has been no bid in from any other club apart from Celtic.

“I’d be very surprised if there wasn’t more bids that come in for him between now and August 9 and beyond that.

“Again, that will dictate whether we’ve got anything to spend in that regard if that eventuality happens.

“From a personal point of view, I’m selfish and I don’t want it to happen because you can see how good he is at the minute. He is just an outstanding player.”

Work aimed at bolstering the squad is continuing, with Australian international striker Jamie Maclaren signed on a season-long loan and a similar arrangement for Manchester City winger Thomas Agyepong is being finalised.

An estimated £250,000 UEFA windfall from setting up a third qualifying round tie with Norwegian outfit Molde will boost the club’s coffers, although Lennon admits the revenue from the potential sale of McGinn is another factor.

He added: “Certainly, financially we will be better off. It’s worth a few pounds to the club, which is fantastic. Whether I get to spend it is another thing, and of course there is the shadow of John.

“It’s a balancing act and we’re going to have to use the squad between Thursdays and Sundays now as well but the more bodies we can get in the better it.”