Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has claimed he will need his budget increased tenfold if they are to prevent their top players being lured away by more money elsewhere.
Pittodrie captain Graeme Shinnie is considering his future, New York City have advised they plan to speak to winger Gary Mackay-Steven and, conceded McInnes, further bids are expected for defender Scott McKenna who was the subject of big money offers from both Celtic and Aston Villa last summer.
Ryan Jack, Jonny Hayes and Kenny McLean have all left the Granite City in the recent past but, insisted McInnes, they hadn’t gone to better clubs but “it’s just the money elsewhere.”
He said: “We are on the border of the richest league in the world. We lose players to the Championship, loan players might go back to Premier League clubs or whatever,
“Within every good team there always good players and they are the ones a lot of the time when recognition for them can feel like a threat.
“It’s our job to try to get those performances out of them and get more consistency from them, but every time they perform and everyone recognises how good they are it makes us more vulnerable to losing them.
“That’s just the way it is. Unless somebody on the board increases the budget tenfold we’re not going to be able to deal with that side of it all the time.”
Both Shinnie and Mackay-Steven are out of contract at the end of the season but McInnes admitted both he and the player were surprised by the move from the Major League Soccer side.
He said: “We got an email on Wednesday night from New York City with a notification they intended to speak to Gary’s representatives about a contract for next season. We spoke to Gary’s agent and Gary himself, who said he was only made aware of it on the morning.
“I think he was still in a bit of surprise about it. I just asked him if we were still an option. He said he sees the benefit of staying here and while he will have options, this is the first one. We’re still very much in consideration.”
McInnes is also hoping he can persuade Shinnie, whom he described as the “heartbeat” of his side, to commit to Aberdeen again
“This has been ongoing for a while,” he said. “They know how keen we are for them to sign and while I respect them looking at their options, I’m hoping we can get some clarity on it going forward.
“Shinnie won’t get the status he’s got here with anybody else. He’s so relevant to our club – his association with the club and the team. He’s the heartbeat of my team.
“The bond with the supporters doesn’t always come but he’s got that. You won’t always get that and I’m sure he sees that. He’s a smart boy and I just hope he makes the right decision.”
Revealing he has already fended a couple of phone calls about Scotland defender McKenna although nothing has materialised, McInnes is resigned to further attention being paid to the 22-year-old before the end of the month while determined he can do all he can to keep him at least until the end of the season.
“We have got to where we are after 21 league games,” he said. We’ve got to a cup final this season already, and I want to go with the strength of the team at the minute and not lose anybody. With injured players coming back I think we can be stronger again and hopefully add to the squad. I’m wanting all my players, my key players like McKenna especially to be with us for the full season.
“Only money can change that. It’s up to other clubs to come in. Hopefully nobody comes in but it can change pretty quickly. If somebody’s in desperation and in need they will pay the money, so we’ll see.”
Meanwhile, McInnes and Sam Cosgrove have been named Ladbrokes Premiership manager and player of the month for December, Aberdeen having won six of their eight matches during the month while the striker scored seven goals in as many games.