Hibs step up bid to sign Barnsley midfielder Stevie Mallan

Stevie Mallan is keen to return to Scotland
Stevie Mallan is keen to return to Scotland
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Hibs are hoping to thrash out a deal with Barnsley to sign Stevie Mallan.

The former St Mirren midfielder has this week informed the English League One club he is keen to return to Scotland after struggling to settle in Yorkshire, and the Easter Road club are ready to offer the 22-year-old a route back to his homeland if they can reach an agreement with the Tykes, who are eager to recoup some of the six-figure transfer fee they paid the Buddies a year ago.

Mallan was one of the most highly-regarded young midfielders in Scotland when he moved to Barnsley on a two-year contract last summer after scoring 29 goals in just over 100 appearances for the Paisley club, but he managed only nine appearances in a difficult campaign as his team were relegated from the Championship.

Hibs manager Neil Lennon views the former Scotland Under-21 internationalist as the ideal man to replenish a midfield which could be depleted by the departure of some key men this summer.

The out-of-contract Dylan McGeouch looks unlikely to extend his four-year stay with the club, while Lennon said last weekend that he is braced for the exit of John McGinn if a suitable offer is received.

In addition, Scott Allan is likely to have to wait until later in the transfer window to learn if he will be returning to Easter Road.

The 26-year-old midfielder shone on loan from Celtic in the second half of last season and Hibs are keen to sign him. Having been unable to break into the team at Parkhead over the last three years, Allan has made no secret of the fact he is open to joining the Edinburgh club, with whom he previously enjoyed a strong 2014/15 campaign. Allan has a year left to run on his Celtic contract, and his parent club want a transfer fee if he is to move on this summer. Although he appears to have little chance of breaking into the Celtic side under Brendan Rodgers, Allan is currently at the Glasgow club’s pre-season training camp in Austria and highly unlikely to be a Hibs player in time for the opening Europa League qualifier against NSI Runavik on July 12. As things stand, the likeliest scenario for the former Dundee United and West Brom playmaker returning to Leith would be if Celtic decided to use him as a makeweight in any prospective bid for McGinn, although there has been no movement to that effect thus far. The Parkhead club are currently in no rush to offload Allan, who is facing a summer waiting game to learn where he will be playing his football in the upcoming season.