Hibs face tough competition to retain leading goal threat

Bundesliga promotion hopefuls looking to cash in on unwanted talent
Who’s calling? Maolida is mobbed by his Hibs team-mates after scoring. Again. Who’s calling? Maolida is mobbed by his Hibs team-mates after scoring. Again.
Who’s calling? Maolida is mobbed by his Hibs team-mates after scoring. Again.

Leading Hibs scorer Myziane Maolida’s blistering form could price him out of an extended Hibs stay, as parent club Hertha Berlin look to cash in on the former 10 million Euro attacker. But the Easter Road club haven’t given up hope of landing the Comoros international currently being touted around the Continent by his Bundesliga 2 employers, who are using his goal-scoring streak in Scotland as proof of value to would-be suitors.

Maolida has rocketed to the top of the Hibs goal charts since making his debut in late January, scoring eight times for Nick Montgomery’s struggling team. He has been completely frozen out of first-team affairs at Hertha, with head coach Pal Dardai infamously branding the 25-year-old “as lazy as very few players I have seen in my life.”

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Hertha, still in with an outside chance of winning promotion back to the Bundesliga, have no interest in reacquiring the services of a player still under contract until the end of next season. But the club have given intermediaries permission to find a new home for the versatile winger/striker.

While their first choice would be to sell the player and recoup some of the four million Euros they paid OGC Nice for his registration in the summer of 2021, Berlin are willing to consider another loan with an option to buy. But they’re looking for a club ready to meet the majority of Maolida’s wages – a potential issue for Hibs, given the budget hit sustained as the price of failure to make the top six of the Scottish Premiership.

Separate from the current review of all footballing operations at the club, led by billionaire investor Bill Foley and his Black Knight group, Hibs are preparing for a major squad overhaul during the close season, with the sheer number of players either on loan deals or short-term contracts guaranteeing a summer exodus. Maolida is definitely one of those loan players Montgomery would like to retain, if possible.

Speaking recently about the chances of retaining both Maolida and on-loan Bournemouth playmaker Emi Marcondes, Monty said: “If they enjoy it here, then you've always got a chance. Any player has to fit within the budget, that's something you can't avoid. I wouldn't say the investment (Foley’s £6 million buy-in) makes it possible, but it makes it more achievable in different ways. You can be creative bringing players in, whether it's on loan or it's permanent."