Dundee are determined to hang on to top-scorer Kane Hemmings.
The Dark Blues hitman, who has netted 25 goals so far this campaign, is being linked with a cut-price move to England.
But the Dark Blues are adamant they will be fighting tooth and nail to hang on to their prize asset.
Six Clubs — Aston Villa, Queen’s Park Rangers, Derby County, Bolton Wanderers, former club Barnsley and Burton Albion — are said to be keeping a close eye on the Englishman’s progress.
Sheffield United, Preston North End and Leeds United are also believed to have sent scouts north to run the rule over the ex-Rangers and Cowdenbeath goal-getter.
Managers at the clubs, across England’s top three divisions, are said to have been alerted to a clause in Hemmings’ contract, allowing the 24-year-old to leave Dens Park for just £250,000 this summer.
But these reports have bemused officials behind the scenes at the club.
While boss Paul Hartley confirmed to the press that it will be difficult to hold on to Hemmings, the club are in absolutely no mood to sell the man they picked up on a free transfer following his release from Oakwell.
Instead, Dundee are keen to distance themselves from the tag of a “selling club”, especially given their record of having lost stars in the past for a fraction of their real value.
Gaffer Paul wants to build an empire at Dens and sees Hemmings, nominated for the PFA Scotland Player of the Year award alongside team-mate Greg Stewart, Celtic’s Leigh Griffths and Aberdeen midfielder Jonny Hayes, as an integral part of that.
Dundee are already at risk of losing two key members of their first-team squad, with Paul McGinn considering offers from at least two clubs, and interest in Stewart, who still has a year left but is being courted by Rangers, Rotherham and Leeds, growing.
It’s understood Dundee accept some squad members may leave but they are keen to hang on to Hemmings, whose 21 Premiership goals made him the Dark Blues’ highest scorer in the top flight since Tommy Coyne (33) in 1987-88.
Meanwhile, contract talks with Stewart and McGinn are said to be ongoing.
While there are cautious hopes Stewart may opt to extend his stay, there are suggestions McGinn, as first revealed in the Tele, is set to leave.