Dons legend Russell Anderson believes holding on to Scott McKenna would be a key piece of summer business for Aberdeen.
Reds manager Derek McInnes is rebuilding his squad after the departure of seven players.
Loan players Max Lowe (Derby), James Wilson (Manchester United), Dom Ball (Rotherham), Greg Stewart (Birmingham) and Tommie Hoban (Watford) have returned to their respective parent clubs.
Out-of-contract winger Gary Mackay-Steven may also leave as he mulls over an offer from MLS side New York City.
McInnes is working on bringing players in, with the Dons understood to have won the race to sign Motherwell striker Curtis Main and also believed to be closing in on Barnsley winger Ryan Hedges.
Although bringing in good quality new signings is important for the Dons, former Aberdeen skipper Anderson believes being able to keep highly-thought-of McKenna at Pittodrie for next season is just as crucial.
Anderson, now Formartine United assistant manager, said: “If Aberdeen can keep Scott for next season it’s a huge boost.
“You never want to lose your best players.
“There is a value that has been placed on Scott and I think everybody can see the potential.
“But it would be nice to see Aberdeen benefit from that potential.
“Hopefully he can continue to develop and grow as a player with Aberdeen, because I think he has all the attributes to be a very good player and have a very successful career.”
McKenna has enjoyed a remarkable rise over the last couple of years.
The 22-year-old broke into the Aberdeen team in September 2017 and quickly established himself as a rock in defence.
His performances have led to him winning nine Scotland caps and skippering the country in last June’s 1-0 friendly loss to Mexico in the Azteca Stadium.
McKenna is expected to play a part in the latest European Championship qualifying double-header against Cyprus at Hampden on Saturday and Belgium in Brussels a week today after being named in new Scotland boss Steve Clarke’s squad.
As a result of his stellar Dons displays there has been plenty of interest in McKenna.
In January 2018 English Championship side Hull City had four offers rejected.
During last summer’s transfer window Swansea City enquired about the stopper and domestic rivals Celtic had a bid of £3.5 million knocked back.
Aston Villa came in with a bid of £6.5m last summer which was also turned down and in January Stoke City had an offer of the same value rejected.
With McKenna under contract until 2023 there is no rush for Aberdeen to sell him.
Anderson – who played for the Dons from 1996-2007 and 2012-2015 as well as having spells with Sunderland, Plymouth, Burnley and Derby – believes Pittodrie is the best place for McKenna to continue to develop.
He added: “He’s played well this season from the games I have seen. But I know from my own experience nothing helps you more as a player than playing games regularly.
“The more different circumstances and situations he encounters the better player he will become for it.
“I know Scott and he has a good attitude. He will never get ahead of himself and he will enjoy it while he is at Aberdeen.
“He can go on to have a really good career both at Aberdeen and if he does move on in the future.
“If he does move on then hopefully Aberdeen can benefit from it.”