Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has warned potential suitors for any of his players to make their move early if they want to have any chance of enticing the Dons into selling.
Scott McKenna has been a regular transfer target in the last 18 months while leading scorer Sam Cosgrove has also been linked with a move to England this month.
Aston Villa have come closest to testing Aberdeen’s resolve to sell after bidding £6.5 million for McKenna on deadline day of the summer of 2018 but the Dons opted to reject the offer.
McInnes, pictured right, says the price may have been right for the Scotland international but the timing was not as selling their prized asset would have left him with little time to source a replacement.
The Dons boss insists any clubs interested in his players will find similar short shrift should they leave it late to make a bid near the end of the window.
He said: “The McKenna deal with Aston Villa was the right deal, but it just wasn’t the right time. It gave us a few hours to scramble about.
“If anybody is going to show their hand, then we’d prefer for them to do so early.”
McKenna was also the subject of further interest from Queens Park Rangers, Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest last summer but failed to meet Aberdeen’s valuation.
The defender submitted a transfer request on the eve of the club’s trip to Croatia to play Rijeka in the Europa League which was rejected.
McInnes said: “We knew about clubs’ interest in the summer in Scott from weeks before, months before.
“I know everybody needs to sort their own business out, but the timing wasn’t ideal and the figure wasn’t ideal.
“It’s different from the Aston Villa bid. Clubs have got ample time to come in for your players and the challenging thing with that was that we had a European game to deal with on the same day which wasn’t perfect.”
The Dons boss says there has been no contact for any of his players, nor is he welcoming it.
He said: “There has been nothing for our players but as you know it’s usually the last few days of the window it heats up.
“But it’s not something we will be encouraging.”
The one player who seems most likely to leave the club this month is midfielder Stephen Gleeson.
There has been interest from England in Gleeson who will be allowed to move on if he can find himself another club.