Dundee United had to “stand firm” before the transfer window closed when bids came in for their players, sporting director Tony Asghar has revealed.
But holding their nerve to keep Tangerines talisman Lawrence Shankland at Tannadice was never put to the test.
Young stars are making their name for United these days, with Logan Chalmers and Lewis Neilson becoming regulars in Micky Mellon’s match-day squads, and Jamie Robson and Louis Appere already established at first-team level.
Asghar confirmed there were suitors ahead of Monday night’s deadline – and firm offers were made.
However, none of them were for Scotland striker Shankland.
“A couple of bids came in for our young players,” he said.
“People will try to take advantage of the current situation, especially bigger clubs. Business is business.
🗣️ 'His technique is just incredible and what a finish' 😯⚽️
— BBC Sport Scotland (@BBCSportScot) September 21, 2020
“There is interest in these young players but we won’t just be selling them off.
“We have to stand firm and make the best decisions for Dundee United, as well as the player, and make sure it’s the right financial deal.
“We’ll keep trying to develop assets and sell them on. That’s no different. But we won’t sell for any less than the market value.”
Regarding Shankland, United supporters have three months to enjoy watching him play before the inevitable transfer speculation kicks in for a third window in succession.
“Like every window since he’s been here there was a lot of talk about clubs phoning and agents phoning,” said Asghar.
“But I can only take actual official, written offers seriously and we didn’t have any of them.
“We just want Lawrence to keep playing well and keep scoring goals for Dundee United.
“There was a lot of talk about him moving in the window. I’m sure he has got ambitions but what will be will be.
“Nothing has changed – if someone comes in with an offer and Lawrence wants us to consider that offer then we’ll look at it. But there’s not a plan that we need to sell him. It needs to be right for all parties.
“Hopefully he does brilliantly for Scotland this week then comes back and scores more goals for Dundee United.
“He’s already proved some doubters wrong with his two goals in two games in the Premiership. One of those goals was unbelievable.
“This is a top player. Everyone is going to be talking about him over the next few months but he’ll be concentrating on playing his football for Dundee United and Scotland.
“It will be brilliant for the club if he stays with us to the end of his contract.
“Financially people will say that you lose value but I think everybody knows that if Lawrence Shankland keeps scoring goals in the Premiership he is going to be even more highly thought of than he is already.
“It will come down to how other clubs perceive him.”
The prospect of Shankland linking up with another Scotland striker, Marc McNulty, is a captivating one. Asghar has listened to United supporters and acted.
“We’re trying to have a blend of players who are either playing for their country or on the cusp of it,” he said.
“Those two have already proved they can score in the Premiership – it will be exciting for Dundee United.
“Don’t forget about the other strikers, though. Nicky (Clark) has started the season well and Louis is a young striker who will learn off all three of them. Hopefully we’ve got a good balance for the season.
“The manager has looked at the structure of the team and how we can adapt to different formations.
“One of those will be playing with two strikers.
“He wants to have a go at this league. We have to have a style of play that will be exciting for the fans to watch – they’ve called out for it for a number of years and hopefully that’s what we’ve given them.”
United’s recruitment total finished at six – Jack Newman, Luke Bolton, Ryan Edwards, Florent Hoti, Jeando Fuchs and McNulty. The last of those was probably the hardest to get over the line.
“We’re delighted with the players we’ve been able to secure,” said Asghar.
“We’ve got young players who have the potential to make our team better and become assets for the future and a couple of experienced players who will bolster the team.
“Getting Marc was a hard deal to pull off, particularly because a lot of players in England have been happy to wait and see if other opportunities come up down there. The window is open for longer in their leagues.
“We were competing against other English clubs, which is never easy.
“He might not have played a lot of games for Reading but he’s got a good reputation down there from what he’s done with Coventry and Sunderland, as well as Hibs up here.
“We’ve been looking at Marc for a long time – before he went to Hibs – and we’re delighted to get him now. He’s a real experienced striker who will help Lawrence, Nicky and Louis up top.”
Quite what the January window will look like for United, or indeed any of the Premiership clubs, is a great unknown.
“There are still dark times ahead with the way things are going with the Scottish Government,” said Asghar.
“We’re not getting fans in the ground anytime soon. We’re trying to lobby as a governing body and as a club ourselves. It’s a huge financial hole in our budget.
“Mark (Ogren) said when he first came in that we want to be successful and sustainable.
All businesses have been hit hard and we’re no different. We don’t have an unlimited amount of revenue coming in to spend on players…
“I want fans to understand that we all want to win games but he have to be prudent and strategic in the transfer window.
“We have to bring in players who will improve the team and be assets. We’ve been taking long-term decisions and Covid certainly hasn’t helped that.
“Our budget has been continually fluid.
“There are so many things we need to consider and so many changes. It’s a moving target. Every month we have to sit down as a board and discuss how the finances are looking.
“All businesses have been hit hard and we’re no different. We don’t have an unlimited amount of revenue coming into the club to spend on players or other things. Hopefully the fans understand that.
“The Scottish Government said fans would possibly be in by September/October. That has now changed and we can’t keep spending in the hope that will happen.
“Mark, the board and myself will have to keep making decisions.”