Motherwell manager Graham Alexander feels re-signing Scotland international Stephen O’Donnell would be a “statement of intent” that highlights their ambition.
Alexander is optimistic a player he described as the “best right-back in Scotland” will soon sign a new deal.
The 28-year-old former Kilmarnock player is already on his second Fir Park contract after joining in August but is in advanced talks over a two-year extension.
Alexander has already handed new deals to Bevis Mugabi and Robbie Crawford and hopes O’Donnell’s signature would encourage others to follow suit.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s Scottish Premiership visit of St Mirren, Alexander said: “That was a challenge when I came in in early January, that we had to try and keep players from leaving that we didn’t want to leave, and we managed to do that. Results in general have borne fruit from keeping those quality players.
“Then we have just tried to assess who can help us improve next year and who has done a good job for us from the moment we walked through the door.
“There are other players we would like to keep but it’s hard to negotiate with seven or eight players at the one time.
“Bevis and Robbie have done really well for me and Stephen O’Donnell is a proven international, I think the best right-back in Scotland.
“If we can just get over that line with him, which I think we are close to doing, then it’s a great addition but also shows the ambition that we have got that we have current Scotland internationals willing to commit themselves to our club.
“That’s testament to the work that everyone at the club does. It’s a fantastic club to work and play for but we have ambitions to be successful.
“We want to look at who is out of contract and wants to be part of the journey we are about to embark on.”
While Declan Gallagher and Allan Campbell appear likely to move on, signing O’Donnell could entice others to stay or join the club.
“All good players want to play with other good players,” Alexander said. “They don’t want to be the only one in the group standing out but not winning games.
“So for me, the strength of the squad and the team is the most important thing.
“Without it attracting any other interest, Stephen O’Donnell on his own is an excellent player we want to keep.
“But I would hope that people will see the ambition we have – and he has – that he can see good times ahead at Motherwell, and that will stand us in good stead when we talk to other players who are either outside our club now or are currently in the club.
“There are statements of intent that you can make throughout the course of the season and when and if we sign Stephen, that is certainly one.”
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