Leading scorer Sam Cosgrove was today challenged to reproduce his prolific goal form in the upcoming season.
Cosgrove netted 23 times last season to follow up the 21-goal strike-rate from the 2018-19 campaign.
That form prompted a £2 million bid from French second-tier side Guingamp, which Aberdeen accepted.
However, the 23-year-old, who cost the Reds just £20,000 from Carlisle United in January 2018, rejected the opportunity to move to France.
Had Cosgrove accepted the move it would have been an Aberdeen club record transfer, surpassing the £1.75m Coventry paid for Eoin Jess in 1996.
English championship sides Stoke City and Middlesbrough have been tracking Cosgrove who is contracted to the Dons until summer 2022.
Boss Derek McInnes said: “While Sam is here we will enjoy him and he has certainly been a key player for us over the last 18 months or so.
“We want Sam to be that player again this season.
“You never know that in time a club might come in for him and Sam does fancy it.”
When Cosgrove arrived at Pittodrie in January 2018 he had scored just one senior career goal, for Carlisle.
The former Everton trainee initially suffered a frustrating start to his Aberdeen career and was red carded on his debut against Celtic in a 2-0 loss in February 2018, having been introduced as a second half substitute.
McInnes retained faith with Cosgrove, although his first competitive goal would not come until October that year, a brace in a 4-1 defeat of St Mirren.
In December of that year, he hit the goal trail and netted seven in five league games.
Since December 2018, Cosgrove has hit 42 goals to rocket into the multi-million pound bracket.
With two years left on his contract, McInnes accepts this transfer window the January window present Aberdeen with the best chance of maximising the fee they could receive for Cosgrove.
He also understands why Dons chairman Dave Cormack accepted the Guingamp offer with the club facing a £5 million blackhole in their finances as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
McInnes added: “I can understand totally why the club would look at that in these circumstances.
“We’ve been pretty strong and the message from the chairman has been that we won’t be selling willy nilly.
“It was such a strong offer that you couldn’t put it in that category. Is Sam worth a bit more? Potentially.
“But weighing everything up I understand totally why the club accepted it and I think all in the overall package not just the upfront payment was a substantial amount.
“Sam’s got two years left and we know that this window and next is the best chance for us to maximise the potential of Sam.
“Even this time next year, if he’s hit 25 goal,s he’s got one year on his contract and we’re in a bit of vulnerable position, so taking into account all those factors I understand why the bid was accepted.”
McInnes expects more teams to test Aberdeen’s resolve in this transfer window with offers for Cosgrove.
He said: “I think he’ll be on the radar of a lot of people and a lot of will be well aware of him.
“There are certain leagues that clubs target and there’s no doubt that his name will be discussed.
“In England the promotion and relegation side of it is just getting sorted out and with the extension of the transfer window means I’m pretty sure we will be tested.
“But it’s got to be right for everybody, first and foremost it’s got to be right for the club when it comes to the offer.
“Sam didn’t feel that one was right for him, but next time round it might be something that feels more right and we need to brace ourselves for that for any of our good players.”
The Dons were unable to arrange a friendly for the weekend, but instead played an intra-squad 11 v 11 practice match.
McInnes said: “We got 90 minutes into everybody. It is something you can do if you have enough bodies and Saturday was the first time we had enough bodies to get 22 players onto the pitch.
“The benefit of that is you can give the majority of the squad 90 minutes. It was a good exercise.”