Raging Derek McInnes has gone on the offensive over bids for defender Scott McKenna.
The Reds gaffer accused Nottingham Forest, Queens Park Rangers and Sheffield Wednesday of treating Aberdeen with contempt over their interest in the multi-million-rated stopper.
The Dons had asked for any bids for the Scotland international to be done before yesterday, as they were travelling to Croatia for the first leg of their Europa League third qualifying round tie with Rijeka.
However, Wednesday and QPR submitted fresh approaches for McKenna, which were promptly booted out by the club, and McInnes was less than impressed with their conduct.
McKenna is down to start tonight’s tie at the Stadion Rujevica, unless a last-minute bid comes in that meets the Dons’ valuation of around £7 million.
The 22-year-old handed in a transfer request before the Premiership game against Hearts at the weekend and is understood to be keen on a move.
McInnes has spoken to the defender and has a degree of sympathy for him given his current situation.
Aberdeen have turfed out multiple offers for him over the past 18 months, including from Stoke City, Aston Villa and Celtic, while Forest and QPR have had previous bids rebuffed during this window.
McInnes said: “Scott has travelled with us. Clubs have had every opportunity to put their best foot forward over the last few weeks.
“Any club who is trying to deal so close to the game shows a total disregard for us, on the eve of such an important game.
“Unless I am told by the chairman that a deal has been agreed and accepted, then Scott will continue to be an Aberdeen player and that is the way I am continuing to look at it.
“It is hardly ideal preparation. It is a Europa League game, a very important game, and these clubs have had the whole summer to do a deal and there is a degree of anger, frustration and contempt towards these clubs for trying to put their best foot forward now.
“Until somebody tells me that an offer is accepted then Scott will play tonight.
“I have spoken to Scott probably more than any other player in the last couple of weeks.
“He obviously has had a lot to contend with and there is a degree of sympathy from myself, but he is an Aberdeen player and he has to continue to act like an Aberdeen player and to perform for us, unless I am told differently.
“I have such a high regard for the boy.
“He is the best of the lot, in terms of personality and we want the best for him.
“No doubt his move and everything will come for him in his career. Whether it comes in this window, clubs have had weeks, the whole summer to put their best foot forward, to try to get him.
“If it doesn’t happen in this window then I am pretty sure it will happen in the near future.”
The news came at the worst possible time for McInnes, given his lack of defensive options. Mikey Devlin and Ash Taylor have been ruled out with hamstring injuries, although Devlin has travelled with the squad to Croatia for tonight’s game.
McInnes is keen on bringing in Zak Vyner, a defender at one of his former clubs Bristol City, with a loan deal being pursued by the Dons.
Vyner spent last season at Rotherham United and has also been out on loan at MK Dons and Shrewsbury Town, and the Robins are happy to loan him out, despite selling Adam Webster to Brighton and Hove Albion.
McInnes added: “He is a player who is of interest to us, but there is no news on that at this stage.
“He is a player who we’d like to bring in because of the defensive situation with injuries.”