Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes knows Rangers are in the driving seat in the race to sign Scott Wright, but he insists the attacker remains part of his plans while at Pittodrie.
The Dons boss has confirmed an approach from the Ibrox club for Wright, who has decided to move on from Pittodrie when his contract expires, but insists Rangers will have to come up with a deal which suits Aberdeen if they want Wright this month.
He said: “Rangers are obviously a club that are interested in Scott on a pre-contract. They came through the front door, which I’m grateful for really, rather than anything else.
“I spoke to Steven (Gerrard) yesterday and there have been discussions at boardroom level, and they’ve let us know that he is a player that they would be keen on, on a pre-contract. As is their right, as it is any club’s right, and as it is Scott’s right.
“I resigned myself a few weeks ago to knowing that Scott wasn’t going to sign with us. I know he said he’d left it open, but, the reality is, we didn’t think Scott was going to be an Aberdeen player next season, he was looking at something else.
“Wherever he ends up, Rangers are one of the clubs that have shown interest in Scott. For me, he’s a key player in the team.
“Like everything else, in an ideal world you’ll get a good offer for him from wherever, whether it’s Rangers or anyone else and we move on and we get something in return for all our work with Scott.
“He’s been with the club since he was eight and that would be the best case scenario for everyone. But at the same time, he’s a key player and, if we don’t get a good offer, then he remains part of the team to try and achieve what we want to achieve.”
The Dons boss shied away from discussing a possible player exchange for Wright, but -with the club due to pay Rangers £350,000 for Ross McCrorie in the summer – it is possible a deal can be concluded in this window.
However, the Aberdeen manager’s focus is firmly on tonight’s trip to Livingston and he expects Wright to be in the squad for the game at Almondvale.
McInnes said: “I’m not getting into any of that. It has to be a good offer for us, it has to be an offer that suits us.
“I’ll leave that for the clubs to discuss. I spoke to Steven yesterday and I know exactly where they stand and they know where we stand. It’s up to the clubs to see if there are any developments.
“I don’t expect that to happen this week. He’s in the squad for Livingston and we continue through January.
“It’s the same with any of your players, particularly when you’ve got a player who is out of contract at the end of the season. It makes sense if we can try to get a good offer for him.
“We’ll look at that, but at the same time he’s not a squad player, he’s a player who has been prominent in the team this season.
“He’s just back from injury and we want him to continue to have an influence on the team while we have him here.”