Aberdeen have opened up contract talks with winger Gary Mackay-Steven and are set to offer the Scotland cap a new deal.
Dons boss Derek McInnes today confirmed preliminary discussions have started with the 28-year-old who is out of contract at the end of the season.
Mackay-Steven’s value to the club long term was underlined and it was intimated a deal would be there should he also see his future at Pittodrie.
With his deal set to expire next summer GMS will be free to speak to any interested clubs from the start of the winter transfer window on January 1.
Mackay-Steven is the Dons’ leading scorer this season with six goals. That form was rewarded with a return to the Scotland squad after a five-year absence.
The winger, who is set to face Motherwell at Fir Park today, was an unused substitute in the Nations League games with Israel and Albania.
Skipper Graeme Shinnie is also out of contract at the end of the season and McInnes hopes to secure both players on new long-term contracts.
The manager said: “We are waiting on a response from Gary.
“We have spoken to Gary and would like both players to be a big part of us going forward.
“The onus will be on the players (Mackay-Steven and Shinnie) to indicate that they want to see that as well.
“If we can find a way to keep the two players at the club that would be great news for everybody.
“There is an offer there for Gary.”
A £200,000 signing from Celtic in summer 2017 on a two-year deal, Mackay-Steven has been a key component of McInnes’ squad this season.
The winger recently indicated he was open to extending his stay at Pittodrie.
Aberdeen have tabled a contract offer to captain Shinnie that would make him one of the highest-paid players at the club.
Shinnie recently insisted he was concentrating on football at the moment as he will lead the Dons out in the Betfred Cup final against Celtic at Hampden next Sunday.
Shinnie has established himself in the Scotland squad in recent months having earned a debut cap in the 2-0 friendly loss to Peru in Lima this summer.
The Aberdonian, 27, earned a fifth cap when coming off the bench in the 3-2 Nations League defeat of Israel at Hampden on Tuesday evening.
Both Shinnie and Mackay-Steven are set to start against Motherwell today in the last game before facing holders Celtic in the Betfred Cup final.
McInnes is confident his team will be fully focused on the job in hand at Fir Park and warned any premature thoughts about the final would be “playing with fire”.
He said: “The final will take care of itself next week.
“There is no way the players can be thinking about that at the minute.
“They would be playing with fire if they did and we need to make sure they are focused on the Motherwell game.
“You cannot play with an eye on the next game.
“There’s no way you can bring a top performance if you’re thinking about something else.
“If you’re trying to protect yourself for another game it doesn’t happen and if you don’t play well you’re in danger of injury.
“The message will be loud and clear to the players, we’ve got to deal with this.
“If we don’t, we end up losing the game and soul searching.”
Aberdeen face a Motherwell side reeling from a 7-1 humiliation by Rangers before the international break.
McInnes said: “I think there will be a response from their disappointing result against Rangers.
“Motherwell at home can make it really aggressive and we have to deal with that side of it.
“When we have dealt with that side of the aggression we have normally come out with a positive result.
“Motherwell are a team that are more than capable of causing problems for anyone.”