Former Dundee United and Scotland striker Steven Thompson feels Lawrence Shankland is set for the top and thinks his old club will struggle to hang onto him.
Shankland has scored 29 goals in 35 games for club and country this season whilst helping the Tangerines to the top of the Championship and breaking into Steve Clarke’s national squad.
That has led many suitors to the 24-year-old’s door, including Celtic, Rangers, Nottingham Forest, QPR and Stoke City.
The coronavirus shutdown has put paid to any transfers as it stands. However, former United man Thompson feels, when everything gets back to normal, the Tangerines will see a bidding war ensue for their main man.
“Lawrence was at St Mirren with me and he’s kicked on brilliantly,” the 41-year-old former Rangers, Cardiff City and Burnley forward said.
“He’s always had the ability to be a really good finisher and that predatory instinct with both feet and his head.
“The one thing he didn’t always have when he was younger was the penny hadn’t dropped in terms of what it takes to be a top athlete.
“I’m not just talking about his body but mentally as well. I think now, certainly, his condition has improved.
“If you want to be a top footballer nowadays, you’ve got to devote yourself to it.
“I think he’s trying to make the best of his career now because when you’re young it’s difficult to get in that mindset.
“I’m delighted for him getting his Scotland caps and his goal record over the last few years is just incredible.
“I’ll be amazed if Dundee United hang onto him after the summer.
“I know they want to keep him but there’ll be bids coming in left, right and centre. It’s up to the club to block those bids.
“His contribution this season has been so good and, becoming an international, I don’t know if they can turn down the money for him.
“He’ll feel as though he wants to get that move to set him up a bit, too.
“Whether that’s going to the Old Firm or down south, every player wants that big break.
“He deserves that opportunity for what he’s done on a consistent basis.”
As for Shanks’ Scotland hopes in the future, 16-cap man Thompson is backing him to be involved in Clarke’s plans despite the fierce competition.
“He’ll be in squads because his goal record stands up but, in terms of starting, it will be difficult for him,” he added.
“Leigh Griffiths has come back to form, Steven Naismith is fit and Eamonn Brophy will feel he should be involved after scoring goals in the Premiership.
“It’s competitive but that’s the challenge for him.
“I think if he was to move clubs in the summer and was still having a big contribution it would certainly strengthen his case.
“I think he deserves his place in the squad, without a doubt.”
Thompson, now a presenter and pundit for the BBC’s coverage of Scottish football, also hopes there is success on the domestic front for Shankland and admits he is eager to see United back in the Premiership.
He said: “I’ve played against Robbie Neilson a number of times. I know Jig (Lee McCulloch) well and I spent three years with Neil Alexander at Cardiff.
“Whenever I’m working at a United game I get a good chat with the guys.
“I know a couple of the players like Paul McMullan and Lawrence from my time at St Mirren.
“It’s a great club and I just feel if they do come up, hopefully, they can stay up and become the club it should be.
“Dundee United is massive. It’s huge – with a great fan base and training facilities and I really feel as though the coaching staff there can take them forward.
“It’s exciting times for United and they’ve waited long enough to get back to the top flight.
“Scottish football needs its best clubs in the top division and there’s no doubt Dundee United come into that category.”