Dons boss Derek McInnes today issued a “hands off” warning to clubs interested in snapping up any of his stars in January.
At the club’s training camp in Dubai, McInnes admitted Cardiff City have made an inquiry about the availability of winger Jonny Hayes.
McInnes underlined to Bluebirds boss Neil Warnock the importance of the Republic of Ireland international to his team.
Reports claimed Cardiff had tabled a £500,000 bid for Hayes and that had been rejected by the Dons.
McInnes said that was not the case – Warnock had simply spoken to him about the availability of the Irishman.
That’s the way the Dons gaffer, who is putting his squad through their paces in the Middle East, hopes it stays until the end of January.
But if there is a concrete offer from Cardiff for Hayes he is ready to fight to retain the winger.
The same goes for any potential bids for any other Dons players.
McInnes is set to re-open talks with winger Niall McGinn, who is out of contract in the summer, about an extended deal.
McInnes also hopes to secure skipper Ryan Jack, also out of contract in the summer, on a new deal and is confident Norwich City’s James Maddison will return to Pittodrie for the second half of the season on loan.
McInnes said: “We don’t wish to sell any of our players in January.
“There has not been a bid for Jonny.
“Obviously it has been well documented that a bid is anticipated.
“I spoke to Neil Warnock last week and he asked about Jonny’s availability.
“I told him that Jonny is a key player for us and we don’t intend to lose any of our players. We have such a high regard for Jonny and his ability. There has been no bid and I hope it stays that way.”
Aberdeen are sweating it out in the Persian Gulf but the heat is also on in the January transfer window.
Ipswich Town are reportedly interested in moving for right-back Shaleum Logan, who has 18 months left on his Pittodrie contract.
McInnes underlined the fact that bids for his first team regulars are not welcome.
“Especially in the January window,” he said.
“January throws up all sorts of different scenarios.
“There is always loads of speculation and rumour and I would say 90% of it is nonsense.
“That is why we don’t respond to every bit of speculation.
“Our concern, especially in the January window is for Aberdeen and our objectives.
“But we accept that, if a club offers any sort of valuation that is fair, we then have to look at it.”
Hearts have offered McGinn a three-year contract and a number of English lower league clubs are tracking the Northern Ireland international.
As well as McGinn, the Dons gaffer has skipper Jack, Andy Considine, Ash Taylor and Peter Pawlett coming to the end of their deals.
All have been free to talk to other teams since January 1, with Rangers already linked with an interest in Considine.
McInnes hopes to secure some of those players on new deals in the next few weeks, but there will be a deadline for answers.
He said: “With the out-of-contract players, we are looking to try to resolve that one way or another over the next few weeks.
“We are hopeful, and keen for Ryan to extend his contract.
“There will come a point where players will have to decide if they are going to extend or not.”
Attacker McGinn is not with the squad in Dubai as he has been given an extra week’s holiday.
McInnes will continue talks with the attacker when he returns to Pittodrie next week.
McGinn has been offered a three-year deal by Hearts but McInnes is confident if he stays in Scotland it will be with Aberdeen.
He reassured Dons fans there is nothing sinister in the 29-year-old not jetting out to the United Arab Emirates.
“There has been an on-going conversation with Niall over the last few months.
“Niall and his agent said they will to speak to us again.
“The time off for Niall was decided when the winter break first came up.
“Niall and I talked as far back as October about that.
“He had to be persuaded that he needed those two weeks off and I think he deserves it more than any other player.
“Niall is out of contract and is free to speak to whoever, those are the rules.
“I am not surprised he will maybe have options.
“But I am confident if Niall decides to stay in Scotland, that will be with us.”
Maddison returned to the Canaries following the end of his loan deal on January 4.
But he didn’t feature on the bench for the one game the Championship club have had since he returned.
Having had fresh talks with Canaries boss Alex Neil, the Dons gaffer is confident of securing Maddison for the rest of the season.
He said: “We are hopeful James will be with us for the second half of the season but that is not set in stone.
“The conversations about him have been positive.
“Alex spoke to me the other day and he has got to look after Norwich at the minute.
“He is keeping James with him for now and there will be a few ins and outs at his club. That will determine with any certainty if James will come back.
“But we are confident, and it is likely, that he will be back with us”.
McInnes shot down claims Aberdeen are interested in signing Falkirk midfielder Craig Sibbald.