St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright believes that Matty Kennedy will sign a pre-contract agreement with Aberdeen.
The Perth boss hasn’t given up all hope that the former Kilmarnock winger can be persuaded the Pittodrie grass isn’t greener than McDiarmid Park’s but fears the worst.
“Derek (McInnes) has kept me informed about Matty and I think they have now made him an offer,” said Wright.
“We are putting an offer to him as well because I don’t want to lose him.
“But hand on heart, I don’t think we will be able to keep him.
“I think he will go to Aberdeen.
“I hope I am wrong and will keep encouraging him to stay and the club to keep him.
“But with Aberdeen in for him, I think that’s what will happen.”
Wright hopes that lessons will have been learned about the best time to try and secure star players on long-term deals.
“I will be speaking to Kirsten (Robertson, Saints’ latest head of football) about it because we have to protect our assets better,” he said.
“For a club of our size we have to move earlier because that’s when we have the advantage.
“Matty had been in the wilderness. He came here, enjoyed his football and the time for us to strike would have been last year.
“Last January would have been the time to sit down with him and get him signed up on a longer contract.
“When it becomes this late, the financial muscle other clubs have comes into play and that is totally understandable.
“We can’t compete with clubs who have two or three times our budget. It’s a simple fact of life.
“I don’t think it’s something which will drag on, but I don’t want to lose him in the window.”
Kennedy may be lost but Wright revealed that two other forward players could be tied up on extended deals this month.
“We are talking to other ones who are out of contract and we will re-sign a number of players,” he said.
“Drey Wright and Callum Hendry are two, in particular, I would like to get signed up.
“As far as players coming in are concerned, we will have to get players out first.
“It’s a case of having to wait for people to leave first.
“We have players who haven’t been playing so they will have decisions to make on their futures.
“It will be a case of weighing up having another five or six months of not playing or going somewhere where they’re going to play.
“But it’s a difficult one because this is the smallest squad I have worked with here.”