Aberdeen: Derek McInnes admits Ryan Christie will not return to Dons
Derek McInnes says the "door is shut" on the possibility of Ryan Christie returning to Aberdeen this summer.
The 23-year-old has starred during a season-and-a-half loan stint from Celtic but he returns to his parent club this month.
"Celtic made it clear that he has to go back for pre-season," McInnes said.
"Brendan [Rodgers, manager] said he's part of their plans going forward, so that for me kills it unless it changes from Celtic's point of view."
The winger has scored six goals this term and McInnes has enjoyed working with the former Inverness Caley Thistle player.
The Dons boss joked: "I'd like to put a clause in it that he can't play against us next year, but I can't.
"It's been clear that Ryan is going back, and he goes back with our best wishes.
"He's done himself no harm. I think this is the most games he's played in a season, he's maybe tapered off a wee bit in the last few games, in terms of bringing that real top performance, but what a fantastic boy he has been to work with.
"He's made a big impression on everybody - supporters and staff and players alike, and if the opportunity ever came along for him to be working with us again, I'm sure we would be keen on that, but we're now trying to look elsewhere because the door seems to be shut on that."
With Kenny McLean also leaving in the summer to join Norwich City, who bought him in January but loaned him back to Aberdeen, McInnes has already been working to bolster his squad.
"We're certainly trying to get enough good players in," he added.
"I have identified the key positions and areas of the team that I really feel we need. Trying to attract those key individuals to a club is always a challenge because they normally cost a transfer fee and if they're free, they cost a lot in wages.
"We need to try to bring that quality to the team to add to the good players we have got."
One of those players is 21-year-old centre back Scott McKenna, who capped his breakthrough season by winning the club's player of the year, young player of the year and goal of the season awards this week.
McInnes described the awards as a "fitting end to the season" for the player and added: "The good thing about him is you just know he's going to get better, so if this is him with still a lot to improve on and he's picking up player of the year awards, it's great to have that potential to work with again."