Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes insists he wont hesitate playing Scott Wright even if the attacker agrees a pre-contract with another club.
Wright is out of contract at the end of the season and looks set to exit Pittodrie after contract talks broke down.
Rangers are reportedly set to make a move for Wright during the January window and the Premiership leaders could offer the 23-year-old a pre contract or sign him this month for a fee.
Regardless of whether Scott signs a pre-contract, we will continue to utilise him.
“We will still look to get performances from him.”
Wright has been free to talk to any interested clubs since the January transfer window opened and could leave for free at the end of the season.
McInnes said: “Regardless of whether Scott signs a pre-contract we will continue to utilise him.
“We will still look to get performances from him.
“He’s a boy I’ve got a lot of time for and I’ve been his only manager really.
“We’ve been patient with his development, had a plan for him and he’s been out on loan to get experience.
“In the last couple of seasons, we’ve moved him from being a winger to a more central player at his request.
“I thought Scott was thriving in the position we were playing him and doing particularly well.
“What we’ve seen this season is, up until he got his injury, was that he was really consistent and responsible.
“We have been trying for the last three months to get Scott resigned as he is a key player.
“We are now into January and have been speaking for awhile and have been unable to reach an agreement.
“I need to stress it is not a financial issue, but Scott wants to look at other potential options.
“We are disappointed, but it does not change anything about how I feel about Scott.
“Scott is still an integral part of the team and squad and I am delighted that he is fit and available.
“While he is an Aberdeen player, we will use him.”
Wright recently returned from six weeks out following double hernia surgery and started in the 2-1 defeat to Rangers at Pittodrie on Sunday.
It was the Aberdeen Youth graduate’s first start since a 2-0 defeat of Hibs on November 6.
Aberdeen were desperate to resign the attacker who has netted twice in 17 appearances this season.
Prior to undergoing surgery in early December, Wright said he was leaving the contract talks to his agent and the club while he concentrated on his rehabilitation.
However they failed to reach an agreement.
If Wright is to exit Pittodrie, it is understood the club would prefer it is during the January window, so a transfer fee can be received.
Aberdeen are haemorrhaging millions of pounds due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing absence of supporters from stadia in Scotland.
A product of the Pittodrie Youth system who has been developed by the club, Wright could potentially leave for nothing at the end of the campaign.
It is reported Rangers are set to initially move for Wright on a pre-contract and if that lands could the Ibrox club could be prepared to attempt to thrash out a deal with the Dons to secure him for a fee before the January window closes.
Aberdeen currently have Scotland Under-21 international Ross McCrorie on loan from Rangers until the end of the season.
McCrorie was ineligible to play in the 2-1 loss at Pittodrie due to the terms of his loan agreement with parent club Rangers.
At the end of the season, McCrorie will pen a permanent three-year deal at Pittodrie with the Dons paying Rangers £350,000.
McInnes believes Wright would be better served with more seasons of regular football at Aberdeen.
He said: “I feel it would be better for him to play another 60 to 80 games for Aberdeen as his progress is going the right way.
“That would really showcase his talent, but that decision is not there for us now.
“Scott is such a good lad and I’ve got so much time for him.
“I’m sure he feels how valuable he is to us and the club.
“You’re always hopeful that because he feels that, that would maybe help in any of his decision making.
“I’ve been here preparing to lose good players before.
“Unless we get an offer for Scott we will continue to use him.
“We don’t have any issue with that.”
Midfielder McCrorie will return to action for tomorrow’s Premiership clash at Livingston.
Attacker Ryan Hedges, sent off against Rangers in the first half, will serve a one-match suspension ruling him out of the Livi match.
McInnes said: “We will miss Ryan for the one game against Livingston.”
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