Highland League champions Cove Rangers have had a bid for Elgin City striker Shane Sutherland turned down.
Former Caley Thistle striker Sutherland is in demand, with Peterhead also having an offer rejected for his services and fellow League 2 outfit Stirling Albion seeing a move for the striker break down over personal terms.
City boss Gavin Price expects Sutherland to be in his pre-season plans in spite of the spate of offers. The 27-year-old still has another year to run on his contract at Borough Briggs, which he signed last year during his long spell out with a cruciate ligament injury.
Price said: “Stirling made an offer which was in the region of our valuation, so not to waste anybody’s time we let them sort out personal terms. I believe that’s where it’s broken down. But Peterhead and Cove’s offers have not been accepted.
“It’s got to be right for the club as well as the player. Every player has his price and we have to make sure it’s right. By the same token, Shane will only go where he wants.
“Shane’s a top player, so it doesn’t surprise me other teams are interested in him. It needs to be clear-cut whatever happens, whether he’s here for the season and we run with that, or if we need to replace him. If he stays, we’ve got one of the best strikers in part-time football at the club.”
Peterhead conceded defeat in their bid to bring Sutherland to Balmoor for a second spell last week when a £15,000 offer was turned down. He scored 13 goals in 43 games for the Blue Toon in the 2015-16 season.
Stirling Albion’s offer is understood to be £20,000 but they appear to have been knocked back by the player.
Cove’s interest in Sutherland shows serious intent to get promoted to League 2 at the third time of asking, after missing out in the Pyramid play-off twice.
Price has had no direct contact with his star striker but is happy the club have looked after his best interests.
He said: “I’ve just got back off holiday, so I’ve not heard from him. Most of the correspondence has been done through the club via emails. Shane will understand the club gave him a two-year contract when we knew he wasn’t going to be playing for a year of it.
“He did really well the season before that and it’s a two-way street. The club has done everything right.”
With 24 goals in 33 games during the 2016-17 season, Sutherland won the League 2 player of the year award, despite missing the end of the season through injury. It was then the Borough Briggs outfit handed him a two-year extension and put him through his operation.
Speaking to the Press and Journal in March, Sutherland expressed his gratitude to Elgin.
He said: “The club put me through the operation privately and still offered me a contract.”