Aberdeen winger Jonny Hayes today emerged as a transfer target for Championship side Wigan.
The 28-year-old was short-listed for the PFA Scotland Player of the Year award and earned a debut Republic of Ireland cap against Switzerland in March.
Hayes’ superb form has attracted the attention of Wigan boss Gary Caldwell who is looking to strengthen for the step up to England’s second tier having earned promotion as League One champions.
Hayes is contracted at Pittodrie until summer 2018 and Dons boss Derek McInnes has consistently reiterated he wants to strengthen his squad – not sell his top players.
It was reported Wigan were weighing up a £500,000 bid which would be way below the value for an international player with two years left on his contract.
Dons boss McInnes recently insisted Aberdeen were keen to retain their top stars.
He recently stated: “We want to keep our team together.
“We want to add to it and get stronger.”
Hayes completed a clean sweep of Fans’ Player of the Season, Players’ Player and Goal of the Season at the Dons awards ceremony.
Latics boss Caldwell admits it will be hard to lure signing targets to the club.
Caldwell said: “The financial benefits of coming here are not going to be there, because other teams are going to be able to offer them more.
“What we have to offer them is a team and club going places, and a club players can see is doing the right thing and has a possibility of achieving success.
“Me and the chairman have spoken to a lot of players already this summer.”
Hayes’ superb form saw him push into contention for Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland squad for the Euro 2016 finals this month.
He earned a debut cap as a substitute in the 1-0 friendly win over Switzerland in March and again came off the bench days later in a 2-2 draw with Slovakia. Hayes missed out on O’Neill’s 23-man squad for the Euros but will be in contention for the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Having signed for Aberdeen in June 2012 Hayes has made 155 starts for the Dons and nine substitute appearances, scoring 17 goals.
He had a frustrating four-year spell in England before rekindling his career with Inverness Caley Thistle.
Hayes recently underlined his commitment to helping the Dons push for the Premiership title again next season.
He said: “It’s vital to look forward and see what we can do to get even closer to Celtic the next time.”