Boss Stephen Glass confirmed Aberdeen are not looking to sell Lewis Ferguson this summer despite the midfielder slapping in a transfer request.
However, he admits that could change if a club comes in with an offer for the want-away midfielder that Aberdeen’s board find acceptable.
The Scotland under-21 international stunned the Dons by requesting to leave Pittodrie last month after the club rejected an approach from Watford.
Aberdeen were angered by the level of bid from Premier League new boys Watford and slated the £2 million offer as “insulting”.
Ferguson has three years left on his Pittodrie contract and handed in a written transfer request after the Hornets’ bid was knocked back.
The midfielder is set to report back for pre-season training next week and Glass insists the Reds are not on the lookout to cash in on him in the summer window.
Rather than sell the 2019-20 SFWA young player of the year, Glass intends to nurture Ferguson to maximise his potential.
Glass intends to have Ferguson as an integral player in his team as the Dons battle on two fronts both domestically and in Europe.
Aberdeen have landed Swedish side BK Hacken in the Uefa Conference League second qualifying round.
He said: “It is important to be clear the club is not actively trying to sell Lewis.
“We know we have a really talented player on our hands.
“We know it is important that we nurture him in the right way.
“Until somebody comes along with a bid that the club finds acceptable he is going to play for us.”
The club is greatly disappointed to have received a written transfer request from midfielder Lewis Ferguson today.
This request was rejected immediately.
More details ⬇️
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) May 19, 2021
Scotland international defender Scott McKenna and striker Sam Cosgrove were both sold by Aberdeen last season as the club battled to deal with £10m losses incurred during the Covid-19 pandemic.
McKenna was sold to Championship side Nottingham Forest for £3m plus achievable add-ons with Cosgrove transferred to Birmingham, also of the second tier, for £2m.
Watford’s derisory bid was way below the Dons’ valuation for one of the hottest young prospects in Scottish football.
It is understood Watford could yet return with an improved bid for Ferguson, who made an immediate impression following a move from Hamilton with an audacious overhead kick goal against Premier League Burnley in Europe.
Ferguson has made 124 appearances since joining from Hamilton in summer 2018, netting 21 goals.
Premiership champions Rangers have also been tracking Ferguson and could rival Watford if they get any hint that Aberdeen could possibly sell.
Following the rejection of Watford’s bid, Ferguson’s agent Bill McMurdo hit out at Aberdeen, claiming there was a gentleman’s agreement in place that if an English top flight club came in for him they would not stand in the midfielder’s way.
McMurdo also claimed Aberdeen refused to name a price for Ferguson.
During the summer break, Glass has held multiple discussions with Ferguson regarding both the Watford bid and his transfer request.
The Reds manager insists it is “not as black and white” as Ferguson wanting to leave Aberdeen – as the lure of the English top-flight is obviously attractive.
Although Ferguson sees his future in England, Glass has no doubts about the midfielder’s mentality while he remains at Pittodrie.
Glass said: “Obviously I was aware of it and knew it happened.
“You never want players that want to leave your club, of course you don’t.
“But it is not as black and white as the player wants to leave a club.
“There has been opportunities presented to Lewis and he believes they are better for him.
“In terms of handling it, I spoke to Lewis about it.
“I spoke to him about it before it happened, while it was happening and I have spoken to him since.
“I have no doubts on Lewis’ mentality.
“The reason he will be in demand is because he is a top player.”