Aberdeen are adamant Scott McKenna won’t be allowed to leave Pittodrie on the cheap after turning down the defender’s transfer request.
English Championship sides Nottingham Forest and Queens Park Rangers have had bids for the 22-year-old, pictured above, turned down over the past week.
Aston Villa, Hull City and Celtic also had bids for the Scotland international knocked back by the Dons last year.
McKenna’s transfer request is an unwelcome distraction for the Dons as they prepare to face HNK Rijeka in Croatia in the third qualifying round of the Europa League on Thursday.
The English transfer window closes on Thursday and it remains unclear whether McKenna will travel out to Croatia with the rest of the Dons squad tomorrow.
Nottingham Forest and QPR are understood to have tabled bids in the region of £3 million for McKenna but the Dons believe the player is worth more than double that figure.
The Dons are already short of central defensive options for Thursday’s tie with Mikey Devlin and Ash Taylor sidelined with injury.
Dons manager Derek McInnes is hoping to add another defender to his squad to face Rijeka before the Europa League deadline at 11pm tonight.
Former Aberdeen player Duncan Shearer says the timing is far from ideal.
He said: “It is a big blow for Aberdeen.
“It will be difficult to find a replacement as most teams have got their squads tied up and ready for the season.
“If Scott wants to go, he was going to have to be the one to instigate it.
“It is the same with most players if they want to leave.
“It will be frustrating for Derek as they have spent a lot of time on Scott.
“It has worked the other way with Aberdeen taking players from Inverness. That is just the way football works and Derek knows that.
“It is frustrating as it is not the time in the season to lose your centre-half. But you don’t want to keep him if he doesn’t want to stay.
“His value could have increased if he had played for another year at Aberdeen.
“It is bad timing, just before the Rijeka game, but he is obviously trying to beat the transfer deadline.
“His agent will have told him if he wants the move he has to force the issue.
“But should the move not materialise, Scott seems to be the type of professional that will get his head down and get on with it.”
Meanwhile, Rijeka manager Igor Biscan was impressed by Aberdeen after travelling to Pittodrie to watch their 5-0 win against Chikhura Sachkhere last Thursday.
The former Liverpool player said: “They were very fast, had quick wingers and were very aggressive.They were also good on the counter-attack.
“Aberdeen are a tough rival and it will be a very difficult game.”