Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes insists the Dons could not stand in Scott McKenna’s way as the player prepares for a move to England.
The Scotland international missed his side’s 3-0 defeat to Motherwell yesterday after heading to England to begin talks with English Championship club Nottingham Forest.
He said: “I’m pretty sure they’re close to a fee being agreed and Scott is on his way down south.
“I’d be surprised if it fell through. Scott was always going to move at some point. I’d prefer to speak more when it’s concluded but he’s a player with 16 caps and at the age of 23 he’s only going to improve.
“He’s not just a good player, he’s a brilliant person and a great boy and I’ve enjoyed working with him. It’s always a heavy heart when you lose good ones.”
The Dons are holding out for £3 million up front for the defender with add-ons but it is clear McInnes believes McKenna has played his last game for the club.
He said: “He’s one who’s deserving of another opportunity to push on.
“Wherever he ends up he’ll have a good career as he treats everything properly whether it’s a passing drill or recovery after games.
“Everything is 100 percent and there’s no doubt we’ll miss that player and person and we could have done with him today.”
As McKenna nears a new challenge in England, McInnes will not be reinvesting any of the proceeds, having already made moves to compensate for the player’s departure this summer.
He said: “We made succession planning with Ross McCrorie and Tommie Hoban coming in short-term. We weren’t encouraging bids but we expected bids as soon as the Championship started.
“The way he has been and his form you’d need to be living on Mars to not see how he’s been playing. His stats are right up there in our league.
“We were allowed to bring in Tommie and Ross to deal with McKenna leaving.”
McKenna’s absence from the team was evident as the Dons shipped three goals in the opening 21 minutes of their 3-0 home loss to Motherwell yesterday.
The six-game winning run was ended in emphatic fashion and McInnes will be looking for a big improvement when his side return to Europa League duty at Sporting Clube de Portugal on Thursday.
He said: “Certainly when we needed to defend we didn’t and clearly not winning a header in the box will always be an issue.
“All we demanded at half-time was to win the second half and I thought if we had an early goal you never know.
“The goal didn’t come, we lost a bit of heart and played out the second half like we did towards the end of the first half.”