CELTIC will have to pay £4million for Hibs midfielder John McGinn – with a host of English clubs linked with the Scotland star.
The Easter Road side have already knocked back two bids – the second believed to be around the £2million mark – for the 23-year-old grafter.
McGinn was left out of last night’s 6-1 Europa League hammering of NSI Runavik, with boss Neil Lennon revealing the player was not right mentally or physically.
He said: “His thigh was heavily strapped yesterday. I know there are going to be a lot of conspiracy theories flying about and I’m fine with that.
“I’m in control of this. I had a chat with John. It puffed up a little bit last night.
“He wasn’t 100 per cent. Obviously, he’s not 100 per cent mentally, either. And, if John is to go, I need to look at what else I’ve got.
“However, if he’s fit to play next week, which he should be, he will start.”
A third of any fee will also go to St Mirren under the terms of McGinn’s £160,000 move to Easter Road three years ago, which is being factored into the economics of the Edinburgh holding out for what they believe is the right price.
Within the club, there is a feeling the £4.4million fee paid for Scott Brown when the midfielder moved to Parkhead 11 years ago should be taken as a guide.
McGinn has played almost the same number of first team games as Brown at the time of his move – and has 10 Scotland caps against the future captain’s tally of just one international appearance back in 2007.
The thinking is that, whatever else has happened in the market, there is no way Scottish transfer fees have fallen away to a point where McGinn would be worth less than half of Brown.
Although Hibs are willing to let McGinn move on for the good of his career, with a cash-plus-player deal still a possibility, there is also an awareness that a number of English clubs remain interested.
Frank Lampard has been reported as being keen to make the player one of his first signings as he prepares for the challenge as Derby County’s new boss in the forthcoming campaign.
Ipswich Town, Birmingham City and Nottingham Forest have also been linked with the all-action man.
With the English transfer window closing a full three weeks before the Scottish window, there could be a frantic scramble for signings before the August 9 cut off.
Lennon’s men blew away their Faroese opponents, with Florian Kamberi becoming the first Hibs player to score a European hat-trick since Alan Gordon against Hajduk Split back in 1973.
The Irishman added: “That was very professional. It’s a great advantage to take into the second leg.”