Kilmarnock boss Angelo Alessio is bracing himself for Greg Taylor’s departure after confirming Celtic and Sunderland have held talks over a move for the left-back.
The 21-year-old – who is set to miss Saturday’s clash with St Johnstone through injury – may have played his last game for the Rugby Park outfit as speculation over his future intensifies.
The Black Cats failed with a £750,000 bid on Wednesday, with Killie owner Billy Bowie holding out for £3million.
Hoops boss Neil Lennon has also been keeping tabs on the one-cap Scotland international as he eyes up a replacement for Kieran Tierney.
Rumours suggest a £2million offer, with out-of-favour Celts defender Jack Hendry thrown in as a make-weight, could be on its way from Parkhead but Alessio insists there has yet to be an acceptable bid lodged.
But he fears that might change before next Tuesday’s transfer deadline.
Asked what would be a fair value for the player, the Italian said: “This task is not mine, it’s the club’s. But it has to be the right thing for the club. I hope Greg can stay with us but I understand the situation. This deal is between the club and the other clubs.
“Every day I read about Celtic and Sunderland. But it’s only conversations. It’s normal in this period of the market.
“It’s difficult because I’ve already said we want to keep our best players.
“I think right now I need to clarify the situation. There have been some conversations about Greg but at the moment it’s only conversations. I don’t think there has been a right offer for him.
“Is it inevitable that he will leave before the deadline? I hope not. He’s important for us and the team.
“But I understand the situation. If the club receives the right offer we can lose him.”
Taylor has a hamstring strain which could see him miss out on this weekend’s trip to McDiarmid Park.
But Alessio does not expect his mind to wander if he is called upon in Perth.
He said: “At the moment it’s difficult because the players can see an opportunity to change and improve their career.
“But at the same time my focus is my team and the game on Saturday.
“Greg only trained today but I don’t know if he will play as he has a little hamstring injury so at this moment I think we’ll be without him.
“I spoke with him about his injury. The guy is normal at the moment. It’s only rumours and of course Celtic is a top club for him and a good opportunity for him.
“But at the same time he is a Kilmarnock player and for this reason he must think about Kilmarnock.”
There was some transfer activity at Rugby Park as Kilmarnock signed Juventus centre-back Dario Del Fabro on loan.
The 24-year-old former Cagliari player has been capped at youth level for his country and played at several clubs on loan, including Pisa and Leeds, where he only made one appearance, in the FA Cup.