As well as Burnley, several Championship clubs, including Cardiff City, Huddersfield Town and Stoke City, have also been alerted to the possibility of nabbing the 32-year-old on a free transfer at the end of the ongoing campaign (TEAMtalk h/t Examiner Live).
The report understands that Celtic are trying to tie him down to fresh terms beyond next summer, despite Hayes not being a regular fixture under manager Neil Lennon.
The Dublin-born ace rose through the youth ranks of Reading but he never managed to make the grade at his boyhood club and spent time on loan at Forest Green Rovers and MK Dons in the lower divisions before completing a permanent switch to Leicester City in 2007.
Hayes went on to make only a handful of appearances for the Foxes and found himself farmed out on loan to Northampton Town and Cheltenham Town before a move north of the border to second-tier outfit Inverness Caledonian Thistle helped him resurrect his career.
Having guided Inverness to a promotion-winning campaign, Hayes was snapped up by Aberdeen and it was at the Pittodrie Stadium that he carved out a big reputation for himself.
The 32-year-old went on to accumulate envious returns of 30 goals and 70 assists in 207 appearances for the Dons across all competitions over the course of five seasons before Celtic handed him arguably the biggest opportunity of his career in 2017.
However, the 4-cap Irish international’s stint at Parkhead has hardly been a resounding success, with Hayes pretty much a peripheral figure in the first-team over the course of his two-and-a-half-year stay at the club.
The 32-year-old has scored thrice in 58 appearances for the Hoops in all competitions thus far and his long-term future beyond next summer continues to be up in the air.
To put things into perspective, it hardly makes any sense for Burnley to even think about offering him an escape route. As mentioned above, Hayes’ failures in England had forced him to migrate to Scotland to build a career.
Having failed to make the grade at Reading at Leicester City in his youthful days, Hayes rose to prominence north of the border with Inverness and Aberdeen by the sheer hard work. At 32, however, it might not be the best time for him to return to the fast-paced world of English football.
With the likes of Robbie Brady and Aaron Lennon out of contract at Turf Moor next summer, Burnley are well within their rights to look at newer options.
Notwithstanding the fact that Jonny Hayes has a wealth of experience under his belt, his advancing years coupled with his lacklustre track record in English football should be enough to put Burnley off.
Dyche has successfully transformed the Clarets into a competent mid-table outfit in the Premier League over the past few years and they should now look for better quality players to propel them to greater heights.
Hayes, 32, doesn’t seem to have a lot of gas left in his tank and even if he does, Burnley would probably be better off scouring the market for younger players.
Thus, this is a deal that the Clarets must avoid and look for options elsewhere.
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