Dundee United have opened contract talks with Peter Pawlett after the midfielder was linked with a move to St Johnstone.
Pawlett, whose current Terrors deal runs out in the summer, is free to speak to other clubs about a pre-contract move.
United’s Premiership rivals and Tayside neighbours Saints have been credited with an interest in securing the 30-year-old’s services.
However, Tangerines boss Micky Mellon says the wheels are already in motion to keep the former Aberdeen wide man at Tannadice.
“We would like to keep Peter here and talks are under way to make that happen,” he said.
“Clubs can contact players legally now with pre-contracts but we like Peter.
“He’s a very important part of the team and we’re pleased to have him here.
“He came in for the second half against Motherwell (a 2-1 defeat in February) and did really well.
“With the injuries he’s picked up and the little suspension he got against Livingston, combined with the run the team’s gone on since then, it’s made it difficult for him to get back into the group.
“That’s a credit to the boys in there that they’ve done that.
“It’s great to have competition for places because if you’re going to be a club that keeps driving things on and keeps the standards high you’ve got to have that right through the group.”
Mellon and Pawlett focusing on the football as Asghar takes control
Mellon says sporting director Tony Asghar is on the case when it comes to extending Pawlett’s agreement with the club.
For now, it’s out of his hands, but the United gaffer is happy to report the player-manager relationship is just fine as they head for Hamilton on Saturday.
“We’ve got football needing to be played but we’ve spoken about it and Tony is on it with Peter’s agent,” he continued.
“They’ll sort that out and we’ll get to a place.
“For the minute, as far as the player-manager relationship is concerned, it’s never dipped, so we’ve been fine.
“I’ve got a really good relationship with Pete. We’ll let the people who sort they kind of things out get on with what they do.”
Although he’s entering his peak years, Mellon insists securing Pawlett’s future in tangerine is nothing to do with his age but his quality on the park.
Regardless, he is hoping for a quick resolution on the matter.
He added: “It’s not really about age, it’s about if they’re making the impact necessary to help the young lads along.
“He’s the one that makes the right impact in order to help Dundee United keep moving forward.
“We like having him here, he’s a good guy and I believe he enjoys being here as well.
“We’ll sort things out quickly, hopefully.”