Jamie Maclaren has told Hibs he wants to leave the club before this month’s transfer window closes, with Melbourne City waiting in the wings to sign him.
Australian internationalist Maclaren joined the Easter Road club from German Bundesliga II outfit Darmstadt on a second loan spell last summer following a successful six-month period at the start of 2018 as he helped Hibs qualify for the Europa League.
However, his second stint at Hibs has not gone as planned, with the 25-year-old scoring just once this season and falling out of the first-team picture under head coach Neil Lennon, who was suspended from his position last Friday.
Maclaren returned to Edinburgh last weekend after spending the past three weeks on international duty at the Asian Cup. He scored once for the Socceroos before they exited the tournament at the quarter-final stage and has made up his mind that he wants to return to his homeland despite the change in head coach at Hibs. The player only started one match out of seven in December before joining the Australia squad – a 1-1 draw at Rangers on Boxing Day – and is desperate for regular first-team football.
Melbourne City are poised to make him one of their key players for this season’s A League, but his move down under hinges on Hibs and Darmstadt cancelling their loan deal and Melbourne completing their paperwork before the window slams shut on January 31. The deal is further complicated by an 11-hour time difference between Scotland and Australia.
Hibs are trying to sign Scottish forward Marc McNulty from Reading before the transfer deadline arrives and have already had one bid rejected by the English Championship outfit. The former Livingston and Coventry City player is seen as a replacement for Maclaren and his signing – or that of another forward – would help accelerate Maclaren’s departure from Easter Road.
Maclaren is one of only three senior strikers on Hibs’ books at present, with Florian Kamberi and Oli Shaw the club’s other options in attack.