John Robertson yesterday warned clubs circling midfielder Ross Draper to show him the money now – or forget it.
The new Caley Thistle manager insists he does not need or want to sell his prize asset and has slapped a hefty six-figure price tag on the powerful Englishman’s shoulders.
Robertson, indeed, is more eager to add to his squad, with former Celtic and Motherwell defender Joe Chalmers yesterday confirmed on two-year deal after successful trials.
Relegated Caley Thistle do need to off-load higher earners, with Wales international goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams one of those told to find a new club. But Robertson is adamant Draper does not fall into the same category.
Ross County have led interest in the 28-year-old Scottish Cup winner but have had at least three bids – the highest at around £80,000 – knocked back.
Robertson, suggesting County’s interest is now dead, said he had the full backing of his board in setting an end-of-July deadline for offers.
He said: “Unless Ross County, or any club, meet our valuation, Ross won’t be going anywhere.
“No club has come anywhere near it.
“It hasn’t affected Ross. He’s still doing what we want him to do but we’re not looking to sell him and we’ve made that clear in the bids we’ve received so far.
“The situation will remain the same until someone approaches the board with an offer we deem acceptable.
“The team which has been offering has said it will not be coming back and I’ve spoken to the board privately.
“By the time the League Cup (group stage) is over, if there’s not an acceptable bid for Ross, he won’t be getting sold.
“There’s no way we’re selling him in August and giving ourselves no time to replace him.
“If anyone is interested in our players, then they’d have to have an acceptable bid in by August 1 or that’s the squad we’ll be working with.”
Robertson was delighted to tie up Chalmers on a two-year deal after the former Scotland under-21 cap’s impressive trial spell, saying the left-sided 23-year-old’s versatility will be invaluable.
He said: “Joe brings experience and flexibility. He can play anywhere down the left flank or in the centre of midfield and that’s what we need.
“We’re not going to have a massive squad this season, so he brings added value in that regard.”