CELTIC could be plunged into a bidding war for Hibernian star John McGinn after their initial offer of £1.5 million was turned down. McGinn is only 23 years of age, but he has already earned nine caps for Scotland after impressing for Hibs.
He has the drive, tenacity and vitality to thrive at the highest level, and he would bring much-needed spark and energy to the Hoops’ midfield. McGinn only has one year remaining on his contract, but Hibs are playing hardball and Celtic may have to drastically increase their bid if they are to snap up this exciting youngster.
He was named PFA Scotland’s Championship player of the year as Hibernian clinched the second-tier title under former Bhoys boss Neil Lennon in 2016/17. He then led the newly promoted side to fourth place and a record points tally of 67 in the top flight last season, and he has already claimed a Scottish Cup winner’s medal. McGinn is vastly experienced for such a young player, having racked up 130 appearances for Hibs, scoring 15 goals.
Lennon knows he has a real talent on his hands and he seems desperate to keep hold of McGinn, even though his contract will expire next summer. The Irishman already turned down a somewhat derisory bid from Nottingham Forest last year, and he will not sell him for anything less than a cool £5 million.
“It’s inevitable with the progress John is making that there will be interest in him,” said Lennon. “He has a price. I think in this day and age £5m would cover it. I value him very highly as we all do here, and we won’t sell ourselves short if the bids come in for him. We already had a bid for him last year, which was nowhere near our valuation, and I am surprised that there was no interest in him in January. We’ll see what the summer brings. If I was a manager somewhere else I would be having a right good look for him.”
Celtic have dominated the Premiership for years now, but Steven Gerrard is launching an ambitious overhaul at Rangers and competition could be stiffer next season. The Hoops are still heavy favourites for the title.
Read a review of YouWager and find some of the best odds on the market, and you will see that Celtic are 1/10 to win the league in 2018/19, while Rangers are priced at 10/1, Aberdeen are 20/1 and Hibs are 80/1. But you cannot afford to stand still and rest on your laurels, so Brendan Rodgers is keen to make a splash in the transfer market.
But Rangers could rival Celtic for McGinn, and there is always the prospect of English clubs getting involved. “Speculation is something that’s been there since my first season here,” said the tireless midfielder. I’ve always said the same thing – I’m learning, I’m getting better and I’m loving playing in front of sell-out crowds. At the same time, though, I’m ambitious. I want to go and test myself at a higher level. However, it would have to be something better than Hibs.”
Celtic certainly represents a higher level than Hibs. He would be playing in the Champions League and highly likely to win the title. Some fans may question whether he can play alongside Scott Brown, but the Hoops captain is 33 years old now and McGinn could succeed him as the beating heart of this Celtic team.
They have finally broken the transfer record set all the way back in 2000, when they signed Chris Sutton, by forking out £10.3 million for PSG forward Odsonne Eduoard this summer. If they manage to recruit McGinn too, they will be well prepared to continue to dominate the Premiership for the next decade, so a bit more ambition in this summer’s transfer market could go a long way.