Now is the time for Aberdeen to sell Lewis Ferguson to maximise the fee they receive for the midfielder.
It would also let Ferguson broaden his horizons at another club as speculation over his future has dragged on for more than a year.
Lecce are one of three Italian clubs reportedly keen on signing Scotland international Ferguson this summer.
Turkish side Galatasaray have also been linked with Ferguson, while the Dons turned down a £2 million bid from Millwall.
Interest in the midfielder is hotting up and I just hope for the sake of Ferguson and Aberdeen a deal can be resolved this summer.
The calendar is running down on the midfielder’s contract as he is tied to the Dons until summer 2024.
At this stage, the Dons have to get the best fee they can for Ferguson.
If they leave it much longer there’s every opportunity Ferguson runs down the clock and sees his contract out.
Eventually Aberdeen will run out of time as Ferguson’s value will dissipate with each successive transfer window.
Aberdeen could face getting a pittance for a Scotland international if that contract gets to the last six months.
Or nothing if it runs down.
If you go into a final year of the contract, everything moves into the player’s hands.
It has been a long-running story on how clubs are interested in the midfielder.
This is a situation that has been hanging over the midfielder for more than a year.
To his credit Ferguson has handled the situation well.
Despite Watford’s bid being rejected last summer, he still finished the 2021-22 campaign as the club’s top scorer on 16 goals.
If Ferguson has it in mind to move his career on away from Aberdeen, then you would hope a suitable bid will come in for him.
And that Aberdeen would accept it.
The situation with Ferguson is different from that of Aberdeen Youth Academy graduates Calvin Ramsay, Connor Barron or Jack MacKenzie.
Aberdeen took on those players at a very young age and developed them over a lot of years.
The club invested a lot of money and effort into their development.
That is not the same case with Ferguson, who they secured on a development fee from Hamilton.
It is a different situation and needs to be treated differently in terms of the valuation Aberdeen put on his head.
If Ferguson does want to make that move then they have to try to find some common ground.
Aberdeen have to look after themselves financially, I totally agree with that.
However, Ferguson’s situation cannot be compared with that of Ramsay who recently transferred to Liverpool for a club record fee.
It is a different question being posed and needs answered.
I hope it gets resolved for the sake of Aberdeen and Ferguson, because this situation has been going on for too long.
Now Ferguson is in the Scotland international team he needs to get settled down.
He needs to be fully focused on the qualities that he has.
Aaron Hickey did extremely well in Italy having moved from Hearts to Bologna. The full-back was a Bologna first team regular and is now set for a £18m move to Premier League Brentford.
When clubs are looking at you from abroad it is a big step and offers a jump into the unknown.
However, it was done many years ago by players like Denis Law, Graeme Souness and Joe Jordan.
They all took the chance to broaden their horizons in Italy.
Aberdonian Law moved to Torino in 1961, Souness to Sampdoria in 1984 and Jordan to AC Milan in 1981.
If you have ambition and are a young player who wants to be tested at higher level and different style of football then Italy would be a great opportunity.
If Ferguson is keen on that the important thing is that a deal can be done in some shape or form.
This has gone on for such a long period it is disrupting for both the club and player if a solution is not found.
Barron should sign a new Dons deal
Hopefully teenage midfielder Connor Barron will sign an extended contract with Aberdeen.
Dons boss Jim Goodwin recently confirmed the club have opened up talks with the 19-year-old in a bid to tie him down to a longer deal.
Barron has been superb since breaking into the first team and is now a key player for manager Goodwin.
Ideally the teen star and his representative will see the club as a good place to be developed.
And that his time will eventually come to get a big move in the future.
If the contract offer is a good one, Aberdeen is a great place to learn your trade as a young player.
Barron will be treated well as the club has always looked after their people.
He is looking like a top-class performer.
Barron is attracting attention from clubs which is deserved, because he has been such an outstanding performer since breaking into the first team.
Ultimately the idea of developing players is not to just sell them.
Clubs like Aberdeen also need to get the use out of young players in the first team.
That is the prime objective.
Defender Andy Considine came through the youth system and played in the first team for almost 20 years, which is brilliant.
However, on the other hand, the Dons developed Calvin Ramsay and only got 39 games before his big money transfer to Liverpool.
Aberdeen reaped the financial benefit from developing Ramsay but didn’t get that game time.
Barron will be a key player in a season which kicks off with a Premier Sports Cup tie at Peterhead on Sunday.
The tournament must be given respect by all the clubs participating in the group stages.
I don’t believe it should be treated as part of a training or pre-season programme to bed players in.
I think some managers have used that in the past, but it shouldn’t be the case.
The Premier Sports Cup is an opportunity to win silverware and that should never be forgotten.
Trophies are important and must be a target for Aberdeen.
The top clubs involved in this tournament should be prepared properly.
And they should approach it as an opportunity to win a trophy.
Sadness at passing of legend Goram
I was very saddened to hear of the passing of former Rangers and Scotland keeper Andy Goram.
He was a top-class player and broke my heart many times, mostly as Aberdeen manager, when he was in goal for Rangers.
In the three seasons I was involved as Aberdeen manager we were second to Rangers in the first two league campaigns.
But for Goram’s goalkeeping heroics we would have run Rangers far closer.
He also showed superb qualities for Scotland.
An absolutely outstanding keeper, he is someone who will be sadly missed by so many after sadly being taken away at such a young age.