Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara believes it’s time to throw the ‘for sale’ in the bin.
The Tangerines have decided they won’t consider any bids from Celtic for Nadir Ciftci and John Souttar, who were both linked with the Hoops this week.
Ideally, McNamara would like the club to go even further than that and close the door on all further sales of top players at least for a while in order to give the team a chance to regroup and improve next season and beyond.
In a wide-ranging and frank interview, the United boss argued the case that the bulk of difficult business had been done with the sales of Andrew Robertson, Ryan Gauld, Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven.
The debt is down and the club is fighting fit in financial terms.
Now he is hoping for a period when it will be about moving forward with the players he already has, getting people tied up on longer deals while adding some fresh faces.
“I hope the fact that we have sold players in the last 12 months means we don’t have to sell again,” said McNamara.
“From my point of view, I hope we don’t see players leave because I want to build.
“It is not easy when you are not spending big fees to replace players.
“We brought Andy in and saw him go to the Premiership then Gauldy played for us and ended up at Sporting Lisbon.
“We then had the two lads (Armstrong and Mackay-Steven) who went in January.
“So it is difficult to lose players like that in such a short space of time.
“I understood that part of it when I came here.
“However, when you are selling you have to reinvest. There has to be an element of both.
“You can’t keep selling and taking things out without putting it back in.
“As a player I won things and I want to win things here as a manager.
“I have ambition for the club and what has happened in the last six months has been very difficult for me personally.
“The strategy is, like most clubs, that you would sell one player every year but things happened very quickly.
“It took everyone by surprise. I don’t think anyone thought this would happen in such a short space of time.
“You can’t stop people wanting your players but my job is to protect them, get them 100 games for the club and more.
“We want to build and keep building. I hope that’s what it’s going to be like now.”
McNamara revealed that both Ciftci and Souttar will be offered new deals.
The Turkish frontman is about to enter the final year of his Tannadice deal but McNamara hopes the support the player has received during some tricky disciplinary matters will count for something.
“We will be speaking to Nadir and John Souttar about new contracts,” said McNamara.
“I want Nadir to stay and I hope he will stay.
“I have worked really hard with him over the last two years.
“We have a very good relationship with him, he trusts us and I would hope that will help.
“He is a fantastic talent and I want him here for a number of years yet.
“For the club’s sake first and for my own job, I want to keep our players at the club.
“My job is so much easier if we keep the team together.”