Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes says the club will do everything they can financially to keep Graeme Shinnie and Gary Mackay-Steven.
Both players are out of contract in the summer and have been interesting external parties, with Wigan yesterday linked with a move for Shinnie, while Gary Mackay-Steven is weighing up a potential move to MLS side New York City.
Dons manager Derek McInnes is keen to avoid a similar situation to when the Dons lost Ryan Jack for nothing when he ran down his contract before signing a pre-contract agreement with Rangers. They were spared a repeat with Kenny McLean when Norwich City signed him last January and loaned him back to the Dons.
McInnes said: “We can do what we can. For key players, we would do everything we could financially. The majority of players that have left, if not all, if they could get the same financial rewards here as at their new clubs they would have stayed. I don’t think it shows a lack of ambition here. The evidence is there of what we can provide.
“The talk five years ago was having our own training ground and stadium, being competitive in the league, giving a platform for international recognition and getting to cup finals. The proof is there, whether you’re a loan player or a signed Aberdeen player. But compared to some of the rewards you can get, it’s not enough and I get that.
“If I could have kept all of the good players we’ve lost, we’d have a hell of a team.”
With two weeks left in the transfer window, McInnes is still determined to strengthen his side.
He said: “My priorities are to get in a left-back and another option in the forward area. I would like other players – there have been ones put to me over recent weeks, and it would be great to have them in the squad – but it’s not the priority.
“I’ve got to do what I feel the teams needs. If we can get in those two, and there is still some room to work with, we can look at other positions.”
He has had the pleasure of seeing Sam Cosgrove flourish over the last six weeks into being a prolific striker for the Dons but fellow striker James Wilson has not had the best run of form since his arrival from Manchester United in August.
Wilson was unlucky in the friendly against Dibba Al-Hisn in Dubai, having several chances to find the net but was denied on several occasions by the goalkeeper. However, there is still time for him to make his mark at Pittodrie.
McInnes said: “There are plenty of games for everybody to prove their worth and show they have a part to play. James’ quality is there but we need to see it more often.
“He’s scored three goals but I think we have certain players who will be looking to maintain their level of performance, and others who will be looking to improve on it.
“Hopefully we can see those improvements in a lot of players in the second half of the season.”