Roy MacGregor will only agree to sell Sunderland target Jason Naismith if the Ross County defender makes it clear he wants to leave.
The relegated Dingwall club have received three firm offers for the 23-year-old – from the Black Cats and fellow League One clubs Peterborough United and Burton Albion.
Aberdeen have also made a formal inquiry but have not taken the approach further. Derek Adams’s Plymouth Argyle are also reportedly interested.
With Jack Ross, who worked with Naismith for two months at St Mirren, now in charge of rebuilding Sunderland, they have emerged as clear favourites to tempt the right-sided defender south with a £200,000 bid.
But County’s management team of Steven Ferguson and Stuart Kettlewell are desperate to retain Naismith, who is under contract until summer 2020, for the Championship promotion push.
Chairman MacGregor said he wants to meet Naismith today before considering sanctioning his departure.
MacGregor said: “Jason has been on holiday and is only just coming back. We’ve had a couple of bids in and a couple of inquiries and I don’t want him to go. I want him to stay and help us make the recharge towards the Premiership.
“He might feel this is not the place for him and he wants to play at the highest level he can. It will very much be when I talk to him that I see how he really feels about it.
“The management team and I don’t want players here who are not going to be 100% for the cause. We want hungry players who want to be at the club.
“I need to check that out with Jason and understand exactly where he is in his thoughts.
“We have made it clear we want him but does he want the club?”
Naismith was widely considered Ross County’s standout performer last season as the club slipped towards relegation disaster.
The St Mirren youth product, who represented Scotland at every level up to the under-21s, and made more than 100 appearances in five seasons for the Paisley club before joining Jim McIntyre’s County squad in January 2017.