Derek McInnes admits Aberdeen have a fight on their hands to keep hold of Gary Mackay-Steven.
The wideman has emerged as a target for MLS outfit New York City after they approached the Dons seeking permission to speak to the 28-year-old.
The former Celtic forward's deal expires this summer but McInnes is determined to keep hold of his key man and insists he will do everything to persuade Mackay-Steven to stay put at Pittodrie.
McInnes – who celebrated a Dons double with striker Sam Cosgrove after they were named the Ladbrokes Premiership player and manager of the month for December – told Sky Sports News from their Dubai training base: "We got notification from New York City that they wanted to speak to his representatives, as is their right.
"Gary was oblivious to it. I spoke to him this morning and he knew nothing about it. When players get into this stage of their contract, you have got to accept you are in a fight to keep them.
"We have been in a fight to get Gary and others to commit for a while now but it is their right to let their contract run down and assess their options.
"All we've asked Gary and his agent is 'are we still in the running to keep you?' and they said 'absolutely'."
Mackay-Steven joined Aberdeen from Celtic in July 2017 and has made 57 appearances for the Dons, scoring 14 goals.