Aberdeen have put all contract talks on hold until Scottish football emerges from the Covid-19 crisis.
The Dons recently unveiled a battle plan including wage deferrals by players and management to deal with projected £5 million losses during the pandemic.
As the club try to make cuts “across the board” to ensure survival during the shutdown, boss Derek McInnes confirmed all contract and signing talks will be put on ice.
Former Watford defender Tommie Hoban had been training with Aberdeen and was set to be offered a short-term deal until the end of the season.
That deal is off the table for now, although McInnes will continue to remain in regular contact with Hoban.
On-loan NAC Breda full-back Greg Leigh’s loan spell expires at the end of the season. The Dons have first option to make that deal permanent but that will also be on hold until the end of the shutdown.
McInnes said: “At the minute we are trying to make the necessary cuts across the board to make sure the club gets through this.
“We are taking a breath with contracts and things like that at the moment.
“It would be wrong to start talking about what we want to do in the future.
“In light of everything going on it is really tough on Tommie, as it is for everyone.
“However, we cannot be giving out contracts until we know when we are back playing.
“That is something I will keep in touch with Tommie about and keep discussing with him.”
Former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international Hoban, 26, had been sidelined for a year having suffered a cruciate ligament injury that required surgery while on loan at Aberdeen from the Hornets last season.
A free agent having been released by Watford in the summer, Hoban is now back at full fitness and had trained with Aberdeen for more than a week.
Having proven his fitness, the versatile defender was on the verge of being offered a short-term deal by the Dons.
McInnes was looking for defensive cover as Scotland international Scott McKenna had been ruled out for the rest of the season with a hamstring tear.
That short-term contract was expected to be thrashed out in the week following Aberdeen’s trip to Motherwell on March 13.
However, that game was the first to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic and Scottish football at all levels was shut down soon after.
McInnes said: “It has never been a good time for this, but in particular in Tommie’s case it came at the worst time.
“Tommie was up training with us and we’d had discussions about bringing him in on a short-term basis.
“We had the injury to Scott McKenna and wanted that cover to be best equipped as we could be for the final run-in.”
On-loan full-back Leigh, 25, who is battling back from a fractured tibia, still has a year left on his contract with the Dutch second-tier side.
Aberdeen had an option of first refusal to buy Leigh written into the season-long loan.
A fee was also agreed in principle for a permanent deal for the defender.
McInnes was keen to sign Leigh permanently but contract talks were put on hold to allow Leigh to fully focus on battling back to fitness.
Those talks were set to resume just before the Covid-19 shut down.
McInnes said: “We will just need to see where we are when we come out of this.
“We need to see what position the club is in and that will be dictated by how things are in the world.”
Meanwhile, Aberdeen have said their players adhered to social distancing guidelines during their fitness work in a city park.
Police were in Hazlehead Park speaking to another member of the public when the Dons players were spotted.
Aberdeen players have been instructed to go for individual runs at the same time of day and data is fed back to the club’s sports science department.
A club spokesperson said they were not asked to stop, but commended for having their own equipment and encouraged to use even more space.
The spokesperson said: “They weren’t using the same area and were more than two metres apart to do their runs. They were adhering to the guidelines that have been laid out.
“There was absolutely no issue with the police.”