HIBS boss Neil Lennon insists John McGinn is worth £5 million and has branded Nottingham Forest’s £750,000 bid for the player as ‘laughable’.
And rather than cash in on the 22-year-old, Lennon has revealed the club’s hierarchy have made tentative moves to try to agree a new deal with the midfielder, who still has two years left on his current contract.
News of Forest’s offer, which was instantly thrown out by Hibs, broke before Sunday’s 1-1 draw away to Dundee.
Kilmarnock striker Kris Boyd, friendly with Forest number two David Weir, claimed on TV the match would be McGinn’s last game for the Easter Road side as he heads off on Scotland duty.
But Lennon, who accused Forest boss Mark Warburton of trying to unsettle McGinn, hit back after the game as he confessed he expects the English Championship side – or others – to up the ante ahead of Thursday’s transfer deadline.
“It is laughable,” he said. “We’ve kicked it into touch. They’ll need to come back with far more money than they’re offering at the minute.
“If they do then, fine, that’s a decision the club has to make. If other clubs come in, we’ve got a valuation of the player.
“They [the board] will do the best for the club and, if it’s an offer they can’t refuse, every player has his price.
“[Forest’s bid] is well short. Three or four times short.
“Mark Warburton knows the Scottish market. I would imagine they’ll come again. Sometimes they do it to unsettle the player, which doesn’t please me.
“Apparently Kris Boyd has inside information that I don’t know of. Seemingly that’s John’s last game for Hibs today. Somebody must be telling him something I don’t know.
“There is a market out there. For a player of John McGinn’s quality, you’re talking in the millions.
“I would value John at five million. But maybe the club can’t get that.”
McGinn was short of his best against Dundee and Lennon confessed he fears the speculation may have affected his performance.
“I do think, looking at him today, that at times the speculation affected him,” he added. “He was a bit in and out, some good bits and some sloppy bits.
“It’s something we don’t need at the minute.
“We’re in negotiation to renew his contract, if we can – we’ve spoken tentatively to his agent and the players himself. So it’s just a waiting game.
“It is early days. We’ve made soundbites and it is in the early process. He hasn’t knocked back anything. His agent is not saying ‘no’. They are open to it, so we will see how it goes.”