Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes is acutely aware that it is only a matter of time before another club bids for Scott McKenna.
Offers from Aston Villa and Celtic were snubbed during the summer transfer window, while Hull City have also had bids kicked out by the Dons this year.
McKenna’s stock is high on the back of an impressive debut campaign with Aberdeen, which earned him a bumper contract extension until 2023 and a call-up to the Scotland squad. He subsequently captained the national side against Mexico this year.
After three weeks out with a hamstring injury and a Scottish FA-imposed ban for a challenge on Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard, McKenna is now back playing consistently for McInnes and he is under no illusions about the level of interest he will generate.
He said: “I’m hoping we can keep Scott for as long as possible but I am realistic enough to know that somebody of Scott’s ability is always going to be on the radar.
“Just about every club in the English Championship and the Premier League have been regular visitors to our games over the last while.”
McInnes has seen four of his players called up to the Scotland squad in the last month, with Mikey Devlin dropping out on Wednesday due to an ankle injury.
Winger Gary Mackay-Steven earned his recall after nearly five years in the Scotland wilderness. The Thurso-born midfielder made his debut against the United States in November 2013 but did not earn a second cap until last month’s friendly with Portugal.
Like Mackay-Steven, club captain Graeme Shinnie is also involved and is out of contract at the end of the campaign.
McInnes accepts his players will garner attention from other clubs, particularly when they are being selected for Scotland.
However, he cannot dwell on bid that are yet to come.
He said: “There will be clubs looking at a lot of my players, particularly Scott, who has become a key fixture in the international team as well as a key player for Aberdeen at his age.
“It is natural there is going to be interest. We will deal with whatever comes our way and not fret too much in November about what might happen in January.”