Derek McInnes is adamant it was the right decision to let Lawrence Shankland leave Aberdeen.
Since departing Pittodrie in 2017 Shankland has plundered goals at Ayr United, firing them to the League 1 title last season and the top of the Championship this season.
A total of 28 goals in 26 appearances during 2018-19 has sparked talk of a move to Wales, with Championship Swansea City reportedly at the head of the queue for a player who is out of contract in the summer.
Sunderland have also been heavily linked with a move for the player, while Hibernian manager Neil Lennon is understood to be weighing up a move.
McInnes took Shankland from Third Division Queen’s Park in 2013 and he spent four years with the Dons.
However, he was sent out on four loan spells and only made 17 appearances for Aberdeen, failing to score.
Despite Shankland’s recent success, McInnes remains convinced it was the right call at the time.
“He went on loan to Morton and St Mirren,” he said. “Just speak to Jim Duffy and Jack Ross: a pattern emerged with Lawrence.
“It’s great he’s become a different player. I know him well, I know his family, and I couldn’t be more pleased for him. Of course, I would have liked to have seen that Lawrence with us.
“He always knew how to finish but to play up a level, to play for our club as the main striker, he needed to be more rounded, more athletic, stronger – be more than just a finisher. He wasn’t that, and he’ll admit it himself.
“I still speak to him. I’m delighted to see him doing so well. He’s found a place beside another striker, the system suits him, he’s sharing the workload up there and he’s getting to where he needs to be in front of goal.
“Lawrence is a brilliant finisher and that’s why we took him, for nothing, from Queen’s Park. We took a gamble on him. It was the right thing to let him go at that time. There were no arguments.”