Winkelman cannot rule out asset sales again this summer
The Dons chairman will have no qualms selling players if the future of the club is better for it
Keeping hold of Dons' key assets might be easier said than done this summer according to chairman Pete Winkelman
Last summer saw the sales of Alex Gilbey, Rhys Healey and Callum Brittain - three of the previous season's most important players - but Dons bounced back with a 13th place finish in League One.
Early rumours this term have already linked David Kasumu and Scott Fraser with moves away from Stadium MK, though manager Russell Martin has already spoken about his desire to keep hold of the pair, saying Dons are not in a place where they have to sell.
But Winkelman says given how the pandemic took a stranglehold of football's finances rapidly this time last year, he cannot make any guarantees but believes being a club to improve and sell on players is nothing to be embarrassed about.
"You can never know," he said. "Last year, Rhys Healey's move was a disaster in one sense but allowed us to be strong when everyone else was nearly falling over. We have got to believe in the process. Not every player will be right, not everyone will hit the ground running like Harry Darling.
"We're getting back to what we were about - people coming here, getting really good and then going. If we can go up the leagues, then we might not have to lose so many, but I'm not embarrassed by it. I believe in that as a business model, the people are our assets."
With uncertainty remaining over whether supporters will be allowed back into stadiums for the duration of next season, the chairman admitted he is not going to risk the future of the club by chucking a huge budget under Martin's nose to bolster his squad this summer.
"It's all about how we use our player budget," he continued. "One thing we cannot do is massively inflate out budget.
"There will be some really big teams in the division next year, with bigger fan-bases than ours so it will give them more money to play with, but they have more pressure.
"This year will still be really tough. We need fans back for next season, but we don't know that for sure. Because of all the support we've had, we were able to go and do more in January. It gave us a little extra fire-power. We finished the season stronger than most."