Aberdeen boss Mark McGhee doubts he will sign Jim O'Brien in January after reiterating his interest in the Motherwell winger.
O'Brien is out of contract at the end of the season and McGhee has confirmed he wants to agree a pre-contract deal for the 22-year-old.
McGhee's interest has prompted suggestions that Well could accept a nominal fee for O'Brien in the New Year, but the Dons chief is not expecting the Irishman to pitch up at Pittodrie in the near future.
"Until he signs here I can't say any more about it," said McGhee.
"I've made it clear to Motherwell that we would like to speak to Jim, but that's as far as it went.
"I continue to say that my programme is set for the summer and I'm planning for that. Whether it's Jim O'Brien or anyone else, I want them here by the summer. If I get them here by Christmas that would be great, but I think that's unlikely."
O'Brien was signed for Motherwell from Celtic in 2008 by McGhee, but has not started a game for the club since his old boss publicly revealed his interest.