Aberdeen, having knocked back a £3.5 million bid from Celtic for Scott McKenna, are ready to stave off any further interest from the Hoops to keep the defender at Pittodrie.
The 21-year-old, who captained Scotland against Mexico in June, is under contract at Pittodrie until 2023 and is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury.
The Dons, who initially dismissed claims they had rejected a bid yesterday
before later reports surfaced of the £3.5 million Celtic offer being knocked back, are desperate to hold on to the player.
The Hoops are keen to bolster their defensive options with Dedryck Boyata’s future at the club uncertain.
Former Aberdeen and Celtic midfielder Joe Miller is not surprised McKenna has been linked with a move to Parkhead. Miller said: “It is not a massive surprise and I don’t think the move would depend on Boyata leaving Celtic as they already have money to spend.
“I would have thought they would have been looking for an experienced
defender but Scott McKenna has shown he has got potential. It could be a good move for both clubs and the player if the price is right.
“Celtic have been looking out for a new central defender. Getting the right player in at the right time and the right price has been key. They probably should have done this sooner as they are already out of the Champions League.
“Brendan Rodgers has shown he can nurture and improve promising young players.
“It could be a good move for the player and it will be interesting to see what happens between now and the window closing.”
McKenna is sidelined until after the international break with the hamstring injury he sustained on the opening day of the Scottish Premiership season in a 1-1 draw with Rangers.
The defender has been on the radar of English Championship sides Swansea and Hull City. The Tigers had four offers rejected for him in January with the final bid of £1 million being kicked out by Aberdeen.
Dons manager Derek McInnes believes the defender will bypass the English Championship and go straight to the Premier League when he eventually leaves the Dons.
McInnes rates McKenna as the best defender in Scotland after he finished last season captaining his club in a Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden against Motherwell and his country against Mexico.
Meanwhile, former Aberdeen loanee Ryan Christie has been linked with a move to Sunderland. But the Black Cats are yet to contact Celtic about the possibility of signing the 23-year-old.
Christie returned to Parkhead after a second successful loan stint with the Dons last season but has grown frustrated at his limited opportunities under Rodgers.