Aberdeen have opened talks with Motherwell striker Curtis Main.
The 26 year-old is out of contract at Fir Park at the end of the month and Dons boss Derek McInnes is keen on adding the forward to his squad for next season.
Main has scored six goals in 37 appearances for the Steelmen this season and is considering whether to return to England following 18 months at Well but McInnes hopes he can convince the attacker to stay in Scottish football.
With captain Graeme Shinnie signing a pre-contract with Derby County, the Dons boss is stepping up his efforts to bolster his squad for next season.
He said: “My first port of call will be the out of contract list and trying to get players in on frees. Players who are under contract are always more difficult to bring in. I would think that if a player is under contract elsewhere then it is highly unlikely they will be coming here.”
McInnes knows the free agent market is difficult area to work in but is confident he can strengthen his squad this summer.
He said: “When it comes to key positions like No. 9 and No. 5 it is very rare you get them out of contract. Other positions can be a bit easier to find but the key positions are sometimes more of a challenge.
“There are good players out there that we can bring to the club. We can still offer a lot and there might be other players who are under contract and their situation may allow them to get out for free.
“We have been concentrating heavily on the out of contract market and we will be leaning heavily on that.”
The Dons boss knows being able to offer the chance to play in Europe would strengthen his negotiating power this summer but his side has work to do to achieve that aim as they play their final home game of the season against Hearts tonight.
Kilmarnock lead the Dons in the race for third place due to their superior goal difference and the Aberdeen boss knows victory tonight is vital.
He said: “If we can win three out of the last five post-split fixtures then that wouldn’t have been a bad return. We have a couple back at the right time and we are hopeful we can get a couple more back for Hibs. These are key games for us and after the first 36 games it is now down to these two games, finishing strongly and hopefully getting that third spot.”
Andrew Considine returns from suspension while Stephen Gleeson is also available.
Connor McLennan, Gary Mackay-Steven and captain Graeme Shinnie miss out but McInnes is hopeful all three could all return for the final game of the season next weekend at Hibernian.