Caley Thistle manager John Robertson insists the ball is in St Johnstone’s court should they wish to sign defender Jamie McCart this month.
McCart has agreed a pre-contract to join Premiership side Saints in the summer, which will end the 22-year-old’s second spell with the Highlanders.
Saints manager Tommy Wright, who is also tracking Caley Jags right back Shaun Rooney, is believed to be keen to strike a deal to land McCart before the end of the January transfer window.
Robertson, who has already lost Coll Donaldson to Ross County for an undisclosed fee, insists the Perth club will have to stump up if they are to bring in McCart early.
Robertson said: “We believe Jamie has agreed terms with St Johnstone on a pre-contract. They have not officially told us that yet, so we can’t say it’s right.
“If it has, it will then be St Johnstone’s move. If they want to take him now it’s the same situation as Coll, they will have to pay money. If they don’t, he’s here until the end of the season.
“There will be no problem with Jamie and Shaun Rooney who is another one that has been linked. Their mentality will be fine, should they still be here. If they go – the club makes money.
“The club has been criticised in the past for letting players run out of contract and getting no money for them, yet we are now getting criticised for players getting sold.
“You can’t win – but we will deal with it as it is.”
Robertson is determined not to be caught cold should more players depart Caledonian Stadium this month, with the Caley Jags boss already lining up potential reinforcements.
Robertson added: “We’ve got a good squad here. I’m delighted with what I’ve got, and we will continue to look at other possibilities in case we lose players.
“I’m hoping we don’t, but we are bracing ourselves just in case. We have lost Coll Donaldson and replaced him by bringing Lewis Toshney in to strengthen the squad. That’s what we will continue to do.
“He’s the only one that has gone so far, but we have to be proactive and ready to deal with whatever comes our way.
“In terms of signing players, we have got one or two on the backburner just in case. We’ve got one or two options.
“Can we get them? That’s another story. In January it’s very difficult to get good players unless you are willing to pay for them.
“Quite simply, teams don’t want to let their good players go.”