Why a Celtic bid for Hibs winger Martin Boyle would make sense this January window

By Euan Davidson

January 6, 2022

Celtic are looking to bolster their attacking options with £3m-rated Hibernian and Australia winger Martin Boyle, according to a report.

Boyle, 28, has had an excellent spell for Hibernian. The Scottish-born Socceroo, formerly of Montrose and Dundee, has scored 63 and assisted 53 in 264 games for the Hibees. That kind of production doesn’t go unnoticed, and The Times report that Hibs are bracing themselves for a bid from the Bhoys.

The report states that there’s interest from Celtic, and from an unnamed club in Abu Dhabi. Hibs, according to the report, value the Scottish-Australian winger at around £3m. Boyle, who has 3 goals in 7 Australia caps, would definitely add to the Hoops’ powerful frontline, with James Forrest, Liel Abada and Karamoko Dembele the current options on the right wing.

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At the time of writing, he’s scored 14 goals and set up 5 more in 24 games [Transfermarkt].

An experienced winger seems to be what Ange Postecoglou is after. The Bhoys have been linked with Nimes Olympique man Zinedine Ferhat, who fits a very similar profile to Boyle.

Both players are in their late 20s, have impressive stats, and can immediately contribute. Boyle, though, makes particular sense here.

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Martin Boyle to Celtic would be a sensible transfer, especially in the January window

Martin Boyle is undoubtedly an interesting name. He’s one of the top talents in the Scottish Premiership outside of Celtic or Rangers, and he’s an Australia international. The pedigree is certainly there.

In terms of giving an immediate boost, Boyle could do that. He’s a match-winner, and has proven as much for Hibernian. Like Ferhat, though, he doesn’t exactly scream long-term planning.

But a couple of years’ output from a top SPFL player is hardly an unattractive proposition, is it? To my mind, it would recall the signing of Jonny Hayes in 2017. Hayes was typically a difficult player to defend against, and he made some really useful contributions to successful Hoops sides.

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Admittedly, Boyle would be reportedly three times the price of Hayes. But in terms of a player who can either provide a spark off the bench, or indeed start games and provide a different option, we could do far worse. Certainly, he wouldn’t need the adjustment period that a player like Ferhat may require.

In terms of the benches Celtic have named in recent months, owing largely to injuries, there isn’t exactly a great deal of attacking talent. And while £3m or thereabouts might seem a bit much for a bench signing, primarily, these are the kinds of moves that can really help in a title race.

His pace and deliveries have been consistently decent. In terms of squad-building, he’d be a very decent complimentary piece for International team-mate Tom Rogic, while providing competition for James Forrest and Liel Abada.

Yes, there’s risk attached. It’d be a significant outlay for someone who isn’t a guaranteed starter. But it’s the kind of ambition Celtic haven’t shown in previous January windows. We’ve often signed long-term projects or makeshift loan players. Boyle is neither of those.

He’s a match-winner at Scottish Premiership level. Having more of those is hardly a hinderance.

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