Aberdeen legend Willie Miller thinks Celtic will need to bid £4-5 million to have a “realistic” chance of getting Dons defender Scott McKenna.
It is understood the Reds have knocked back a £3.5m offer from their Glasgow rivals for the 21-year-old centre-back.
McKenna is out with a hamstring tear suffered in the season opener with Rangers, but his stock is high after rising from the youth ranks at Pittodrie to captaining Scotland against Mexico at the Azteca.
Legendary Dons captain Miller, who turned down overtures from the Gers and Sunderland in the early 80s, thinks the club are in no rush to cash in on the young talent, with McKenna contracted until 2023 after signing two extensions to his deal in the past year.
Miller said: “Aberdeen are in the right position to reject the offer.
“Having Scott on a longer-term contract and Scott’s point of view has been steadfast in that he’s not in any hurry to make a move.
“When you put those parts together, Aberdeen are right to hold on to Scott.
“But there’s always going to be a price where the deal is done.
“It’s not there at £3.5m, but I said way back it was between £4m and £5m he was worth and I haven’t changed my opinion.
“I think that’s realistic.
“The player’s got to be taken into consideration as well.
“A lot of the time it’s said ‘well, the player’s under contract, so the club hold all the cards’. But the player’s point of view still matters.
“Scott’s so far has been he is happy to continue his development at Aberdeen.
“But there will be a point where somebody comes in with a bid and if it’s high enough, lucrative enough for the player, he’s going to have to make that decision.”
It is understood Aberdeen took a hardline stance with the Hoops, telling the Brendan Rodgers-managed outfit McKenna is not for sale.
Aberdeen said no to more than £1m from English club Hull City in January and are also thought to have rejected a bumper offer from Swansea City before the English window shut on August 9.
The last thing they will want is to sell one of their best players to the Premiership champions, who they have finished runners-up to for the past four seasons.
However, Miller thinks it isn’t as easy as some believe to just refuse to sell to their rivals.
Miller said: “I’m sure the manager and chairman will be hoping if Scott does go it’ll be down south.
“Sometimes there are other factors the fans don’t understand.
“If the player comes to you and says ‘look gaffer, I fancy it’, even though it’s your rivals, that’s got to be taken into consideration.
“It’s not just a straightforward ‘we are not going to sell him to Celtic or Rangers’.”
Miller thinks Celtic’s failure to reach a deal to sign Hibs midfielder John McGinn, now at English Championship Aston Villa, will mean they are under pressure to succeed in their McKenna pursuit.
Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes has previously said when McKenna leaves Aberdeen it will likely be for the English top flight and he believes his young stopper is the best centre-back in the country.