Craig Brown believes Jim O'Brien will become a better player over time at Motherwell if he extends his Fir Park stay.
The 22-year-old winger is out of contract in the summer and has been attracting attention from Aberdeen boss Mark McGhee along with Hearts more recently.
Brown thinks that leaving Well this season could be too early in his career and that by staying he could join a big club further down the line.
The former Preston boss cites James McFadden as a previous example who turned down the chance to join the Lilywhites as a teenager before eventually signing for Everton.
"I would like to think Jim will want to stay here," Brown said. "He is a very, very good player. We would like to keep all our good players.
"It is understandable that there may be interest elsewhere but I always feel there is a time for a player to move and it's not always when you have just had half a season.
"He will be a far more lucrative proposition to Motherwell and an interested club if he is established here.
"James McFadden is the perfect example. James could have gone earlier, I could have taken him to Preston, we were interested in him there.
"But whoever advised him said 'stay longer and you will get a better move'.
"And, I've got to say, Everton was a better move than Preston.
"So in the likes of O'Brien and any of the other younger players, there is an optimum time to make a move."