Killie stand firm on Naismith
By Lewis Rutledge. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Michael Johnston is adamant that Steven Naismith will not leave Kilmarnock for less than he is worth.
Naismith has been linked with a move to Rangers all summer and the transfer saga took another twist on Thursday as he submitted a transfer request.
Rangers have so far had four bids rejected but Kilmarnock are holding out for £2milion and chairman Johnston insists that is a reasonable figure.
"I can understand he feels frustrated that we're standing in his way, but while I respect his wishes I also have a duty to the club to make sure we get the appropriate value," he explained.
"We've looked at what has been happening in the Scottish transfer market in recent months and we feel a fee in the region of £2million is not unreasonable.
"Steven has been the SPL Young Player of the Year two years in a row, second top goalscorer last season, and is a full Scotland international.
"So why would you let a talent like that go for a lower figure when you see the likes of Kevin Thomson, Anthony Stokes, Lee McCulloch all in the £2million category and that leaves aside Scott Brown in the £4.4million category?
"We feel we've not been unreasonable as we have not slapped a huge figure on his head to block the move."
Killie are understood to have received a verbal offer higher than Rangers' fourth bid of £1.5million, but Johnston admits the situation may not be resolved just yet.
He said: "There is ongoing dialogue and the window does not close until 31st August it might not be until then that we reach agreement or he stays at Kilmarnock.
"It has always been my hope he would stay here and if we don't get a fair and reasonable offer he'll remain a Kilmarnock player."