Hibs working on Martin Boyle return but must negotiate contract complexities
Hibs are working flat out on a deal that could signal the return of club talisman Martin Boyle.
The forward left Easter Road during the January transfer window after Hibs accepted a £3 million bid from Saudi Arabian side Al-Faisaly that would set the player up for life, although Boyle indicated a desire to return to the Capital in the future with his ‘it’s not goodbye, it’s see you later’ message on social media following confirmation of the deal.
But his future has been thrown into doubt after the club was relegated from the Saudi Pro League at the end of last season.
The Evening News understands Boyle is keen to play his club football at a higher level than the Saudi second tier and with the 2022 World Cup on the horizon, will want to keep his place in Graham Arnold’s Australia squad.
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Boyle could also face a wage cut at Al-Faisaly following relegation and with wife Rachael, who plays as a midfielder for Hibs Women, back home in Scotland with young daughter Amelia and pregnant with the couple’s second child, a return could suit all parties.
According to The Sun, Aberdeen are also keen on a move but Hibs struck a deal in the original transfer agreement with Al-Faisaly that gives the Capital club first refusal on the player.
He left Hibs after more than seven years in green and white and hit four goals and two assists in 18 games for The Burgundy, helping them to the last 16 of the AFC Champions League.
The 29-year-old is understood to have not yet returned to Saudi Arabia and was conspicuous by his absence from pictures and videos of training sessions posted on his club’s social media channels on Monday.
As per the contract clause, Hibs will be notified of any potential loan or permanent offers that Al-Faisaly are willing to accept for Boyle which essentially gives the club an advantage should a situation arise in which the player either wants to return to Britain, or is the subject of transfer interest from another UK club.
The main stumbling block is expected to be money while tax laws could also play a factor, but with Al-Faisaly reportedly yet to pay Hibs the full transfer fee, an agreement could be thrashed out between the clubs.