Dons boss Derek McInnes would love to keep Greg Stewart at Pittodrie – but admits it’s no surprise the odds are stacked against that happening.
Aberdeen have the attacker on loan from English Championship side Birmingham City.
Stewart spent last season with the Reds before being loaned to Premiership rivals Kilmarnock during the first half of this campaign.
But the Dons beat the Ayrshire outfit to his signature in the January transfer window.
The 29-year-old’s contract with Birmingham is up in the summer and McInnes is keen to keep him at Pittodrie.
However, reports have linked Stewart with a switch to rivals Rangers and there have also been whispers of interest from south of the border.
McInnes is not surprised that teams have their eye on Stewart and he knows that lessens the chances of Aberdeen being able to get him on a permanent deal.
Stewart is in contention to feature against his former club Dundee in the Premiership clash at Dens Park this afternoon.
McInnes said: “When you’ve got good players playing for you it’s no surprise to you when other clubs are interested.
“I tried to get him on a permanent deal from Birmingham in January. I want to work with good players and I would still like to work with Greg beyond this season.
“You saw how influential he was when he came on against Motherwell (he created the second goal for Niall McGinn in Wednesday’s 3-1 win).
“We made the decision with three games in the week and him having had an injury not to start him. But he came on and showed his worth and he’s done that time and time again for us.
“If I thought there was a chance of keeping good players like Greg beyond the summer of course I would want that to happen.
“There is a squad you would like to work with.
“But there is a squad that is the likely one you will be working with and unless we get some good news it’s the second one we’ll be working with.”
McInnes is still waiting to find out if captain Graeme Shinnie and winger Gary Mackay-Steven will decide to pen new contracts or move on as free agents in the summer.
As with Stewart, wages on offer could be a factor.
McInnes added: “We’ve managed to work with good players over the years at Aberdeen. But we haven’t always been able to retain them and it has mostly been down to finance.”
During his six years as Aberdeen manager McInnes has lost plenty of influential players due to lucrative offers from elsewhere.
The likes of Ryan Jack, Kenny McLean, Jonny Hayes, McGinn, Ash Taylor, Peter Pawlett and Anthony O’Connor have all left Pittodrie.
Trying to compete with larger offers from other clubs is difficult for McInnes, but when it comes to trying to retain players and bring in new faces he is also able to sell other aspects of playing for the Dons.
The manager said: “There’s loads of evidence we can use as promotion of ourselves to players.
“Whether that is our own players or players we’ve signed who have then gone on to other things.
“It’s things like European football, cup finals, playing regularly for a top club, a fantastic club that looks after its players.
“There’s a crowd that when we’re at our best is 15,000, 16,000 or more that really gets behind us.
“There’s a huge travelling support and all that shows what we can do for players.
“Moving into a new training ground will also hopefully help.
“But ultimately if we miss out on players it can be down to finance as well.
“If we lose good players here in the summer it is my job to try to replace them. But it is difficult.”