Another transfer window, and Dons boss Derek McInnes expects more interest and potential bids for Scotland international Scott McKenna.
However, he hopes the Reds, currently in Dubai, emerge from the window with the centre-back still at the club.
In the previous two windows the Dons have rejected offers for McKenna.
McInnes insists it could be increasingly difficult to achieve the same outcome in future windows as the 22-year-old continues to improve in stature.
Although contracted to Aberdeen until summer 2023 such is McKenna’s standing it is a case of when, not if, he moves to England.
McInnes does not want that to happen this month.
However, when that day comes, he is convinced McKenna’s move south of the border will be to an English Premier League side.
Aberdeen rejected bids of £7 million from Aston Villa and £3.5m from Celtic for the defender during the summer transfer window.
McInnes refuses to put a price on what would lure McKenna away but admitted centre-backs capable of performing at McKenna’s level “have a value”.
As we talked at the Jebel Ali Beach Hotel in Dubai, McInnes said: “It would be naive to think there wouldn’t be interest in Scott.
“I have spoken with Scott and we would all want Scott to be here for at least the full season.
“Nothing has happened that has given me any indication that is going to be any different to that.
“He has been better this season than he was in his first year and that is despite having to deal with his injury (McKenna was out for two months at the start of this season with a hamstring tear).
“Scott deals with everything no matter what.
“Whether he plays a high line or defends his box he deals with it.
“It is the same if he plays against quick strikers or strong strikers.
“Scott is just getting better and better. Other people will recognise that.”
It is understood Premier League side Wolves sent scouts to watch McKenna in action earlier this season.
While the Dons were in Dubai this time last year, they rejected a £300,000 bid from Hull City.
Having become a first-team regular, signed an extended deal and captained Scotland, his value has rocketed in many multiples since then.
But the Dons have not yet settled on an exact number.
McInnes said: “There is no figure set.
“We value Scott highly and recognise the market that we think he can go into.
“I think he can go direct to the English Premier League.
“Centre-halves in the Premier League, to perform there as I have no doubt Scott can do – they have a value.”
McKenna has been a stalwart of the Dons defence this season, during a time when the squad were rocked by injuries to centre-backs.
Mark Reynolds had been out since July having undergone knee surgery for a cruciate ligament injury sustained in a friendly against Cove Rangers.
On-loan Watford centre-back Tommie Hoban had been out since late August having undergone shoulder surgery on an injury sustained in scoring in a 1-1 draw at Hibs.
Centre-back Mikey Devlin had also been out since sustaining a foot ligament injury while training with the Scotland squad in mid November.
All three defenders are back in training in Dubai.
Winger Gary Mackay-Steven also returned to light training for the first time having been side-lined with concussion.
The 28-year-old was knocked unconscious in the 1-0 Betfred Cup final loss to Celtic on December 2.
McInnes said: “It is good to see some of the injured ones coming back, and we also have some of the younger ones out here as well.
“Having some of the senior players coming back into things and integrating them onto the pitch is pleasing.
“Not all will be available for the Stenhousemuir game but just to get McGinn, Logan, Hoban, Devlin and Mackay-Steven in and around it is really encouraging.
“It gives me a huge lift for the second half of the season.”
McInnes has 23 players in Dubai. No new signings made the eight-hour flight out to the United Arab Emirates.
Only two were left behind due to injury, with Bruce Anderson (calf, shoulder) and Frank Ross (back) remaining at Pittodrie to continue their rehabilitation.
Rising youth stars Ethan Ross and Miko Virtanen took their places on the flight out.
McInnes said: “I wanted to bring Frank and Bruce out, but we could only bring 23 including the two keepers and we’ve already got five or six senior players not able to do anything.
“With the potential game here on Sunday we needed to make sure we had enough bodies that were actually able to do work.
“Frank is still at a very early stage with his rehab in terms of doing a bit of running and wouldn’t have been able to do any ball work.
“Bruce has got a problem not only with his calf, but with his shoulder after Livingston.
“Ethan Ross and Miko Virtanen got brought in at the expense of Frank and Bruce because we needed bodies for training and with the game in mind on Sunday.
“While we hope there are going to be some boys fit before the game, there’s still a chance they might not be.
“Ethan and Miko have been training with the first-team squad for a while now so it was good to get them out here.
“We’ve brought younger ones in recent seasons and they’ve always responded well.
“So it’s good to have them out here because that enthusiasm from the younger ones can add to the session.”