Former Scotland under-21 internationalist Ryan Gauld looks set to continue his career in Portugal – but only once he agrees a pay-off from Sporting Lisbon.
The 23-year-old has been told he is free to leave the club as he enters the sixth and final year of his contract – having joined in a £3 million deal from Dundee United in 2014.
Gauld has only managed a total of five appearances for Sporting either side of loan spells at Vitória de Setúbal, Aves, Farense and Hibs.
Despite telling the playmaker he can go, Sporting officials are so far unwilling to negotiate any kind of severance deal with Gauld.
And even though Gauld has offers from both Portuguese top-flight and second tier teams, he looks set to return for pre-season training with his current employers next week.
Gauld is understandably keen to reach a suitable agreement as he would have to accept a sizeable drop in salary to sign for another Portuguese club.
The United academy graduate had returned to Scotland in January with hopes of reviving his career but was hampered by a hamstring injury during his time at Hibs, making just six appearances.
Speaking about the player at the end of last season, Hibs head coach Paul Heckingbottom said: “Technically we know he’s a good player, tactically he is excellent, his understanding is great.
“For me next season Ryan has to be playing somewhere to show what he is about and to develop himself as well.
“You can get lost in the game, people’s opinion of you can become warped.
“And the only way to take control of that is by playing.
“For me that’s a big, big thing for him, his family and his agent, to get him back playing.”