By Danny Wright
Nottingham Forest manager Mark Warburton has clearly hit a nerve with Neil Lennon after Hibernian rejected a bid for midfielder John McGinn.
The Scotsman reports that ex-Rangers boss Warburton, now at the City Ground, had made an approach worth £750,000 for Scotland international McGinn, 22, which, according to Lennon, was “laughable” and quickly rejected by Hibs.
The Easter Road boss has now accused Warburton of trying to unsettle the sought-after midfielder, who has also reportedly attracted attention from Ipswich this summer, while also making it clear what kind of offer he would consider.
“This bid is well short, three or four times short. I’ll tell you what I could do: I could put a bid in for Scott Brown at Celtic and get it out there in the media. Not that it would unsettle Scotty but maybe I could do that for a laugh,” said Lennon as he destroyed Warburton for Forest’s bid, as quoted by the Scotsman.
“For a player of John’s quality, you’re talking in the millions. Mark Warburton knows the Scottish market. John is a Scottish international and he’s under contract with us. Sometimes clubs do this kind of thing to unsettle a player, which doesn’t please me and I would imagine they’ll come again. I’ve said before I’d value John at £5million but maybe the club couldn’t get that.”
It isn’t the first time that Nottingham Forest have looked to Hibs this summer to strengthen their squad after last term’s top goal scorer Jason Cummings signed for the English Championship side.
Barrie McKay has also been poached from Ibrox, showing that Warburton isn’t afraid to dip his toes into the Scottish transfer market to bolster out his squad.
McGinn was a key part of the Hibs squad that got promoted last season as he scored five goals and supplied 10 assists in 37 appearances across all competitions from the centre of midfield.
He has also begun this season well, helping the Edinburgh club beat Warburton’s old side Rangers at Ibrox earlier this month.
In other Nottingham Forest news, Warburton has placed this Championship contract rebel at the top of his summer shopping list.