Here we are in mid-November and from the north comes the statement that as far as transfer targets are concerned, "There's no doubt Jim O'Brien would be in that category in the sense he is out of contract and he is a player we know and admire." A quote from our old boss, Mark McGhee.
He goes on to state that "He's a player we know is good enough to come to Aberdeen but again we've made no moves". Is it a coincidence that McGhee's team is headed to Fir Park next weekend? It seems more likely that this suggestion is just the sort of low tactic a manager resorts to when he knows his team are unable to deliver the goods on the park.
Aberdeen are trailing Motherwell by four points as we enter the second cycle of fixtures and the gap could be stretched to seven or shrunk to one, depending on the outcome of next week's clash. It seems inconceivable that this story has emerged now unless the dirty tricks department was involved.
O'Brien is out of contract with Motherwell at the end of the season and he is entitled to talk to other teams from January. We have played 11 of the 38 games in the campaign and there are around seven weeks until the next transfer window opens. Until then Aberdeen are not entitled to talk to the player and to make premature suggestions of intent seems to be highly unprofessional. McGhee will have to live with that charge. Of course, he'll argue that he was only responding to a suggestion that O'Brien might be the sort of player he would like to have in his squad and that he only professed admiration and stated that no moves had been made. But he knows that type of answer would be sure to be interpreted as a statement of intent.
The best response from the Fir Park dressing room would be a redoubling of the mdetermination to secure a win next Saturday and if O'Brien can turn on his best form then the 'Well fans would have double cause for celebration.