Chris Clements is the "best midfielder" in League Two and Mansfield Town will struggle to keep him for next season, according to manager Adam Murray.
Clements, 25, has been vital in helping the Stags move eight points clear of the relegation zone with three games to go, but his deal expires this summer.
Murray told BBC Radio Nottingham: "He is the best midfielder in the league.
"He is the type of player I want the team to be about next season, but good players will have options."
Clements joined Mansfield in the summer of 2012, and has played 83 games for the club, more than half of them coming this season.
Murray said he was the standout midfielder in the division "without a shadow of a doubt".
He continued: "He needed to play a certain way. He needed certain things to allow him to express himself and I haven't seen anything that touches him.
"When he plays, the team plays and when he plays opposition cannot get near him.
"He has taken on board the fact that sometimes you cannot just do the pleasing things in the game. He understands the importance of the team.
"We had a couple of clubs higher up coming in for Chris in the last window and it's going to be a tough one because Chris will have options."
Murray joked: "I have a great relationship with him. But if he doesn't sign for us I am not talking to him again."