Jim Goodwin has insisted St Mirren will not part with star players on the cheap after knocking back offers for Jamie McGrath and Conor McCarthy.
The Saints manager confirmed reports that St Mirren had received bids for both players within the last week but said that neither came close to the club’s valuation. Both players have a year left on their contracts and the club would like them to extend their stay with only a high offer enough to force the Paisley side to reconsider.
Goodwin said the players’ contribution to last season, where the Buddies just failed to make the top six and reached Hampden in both cup competitions, showed their value and St Mirren could hold out for more than they had been offered.
“I think we need to be strong in the market,” he said. “In years gone by I think sometimes we sometimes just accepted the first offer that came in but I am glad to say the board are showing some strength.
“We’re not in a position where we need to sell. Obviously last season took its toll on everybody financially with the lack of revenue coming in but the club is in a healthy position.
“We have got a certain valuation of our players. Obviously when I’m asking players to come over from Ireland or young lads to come up from England, I sell it to them so I’ve got to be fair to the player but at the same time, we’re not going to be selling players on the cheap.
“I think we’ve all got to be realistic about the situation as well. We knew there was going to be some serious interest in McGrath. There’s not many midfielders out there in Europe that have scored 17 goals in the top flight, albeit seven of them were penalties though you still have to put the ball in the back of the net. Jamie got his recognition with the Irish team where he got his senior cap.
“So it’s no surprise to us that teams are showing an interest in Jamie and in Conor and in one or two other players as well. It shows what a great season we did have last season and how well the players are doing.”
The manager said that he would love to have both players in his squad for the season ahead but that if either was sold then he has a list of “high quality” replacements he would look to sign. However, he reiterated that any offers would have to be fair and pointed to the sale of John McGinn and Kenny McLean, who went on to be Scotland internationals, as examples of times St Mirren had allowed players with potential to leave without taking in a large fee.
He said: “I don’t think we have put ridiculous evaluations on the players but I do keep an eye on the market and I do see what other players are going for and I do often wonder why our players are valued so much less than what some other players are.
“There are certain midfielders in Scotland at the moment and I am not going to name names, who have been spoken about £2m and £3m coming in for them and they are not at Celtic or Rangers, they are at the likes of Aberdeen and Hibs and other teams.
“I am questioning why we are not getting those types of offers for a Jamie McGrath who has scored 17 goals.
“We are not putting an evaluation of £1m on Jamie, we are quite realistic about the situation but at the same time we will not be shafted by anybody.”