This week both Gary Roberts and Jimmy Ryan left the club to join Portsmouth and Fleetwood respectively, angering many Spireites supporters who fear that their successful side from last season under Paul Cook could be ripped apart.
Forward Sam Clucas has been the subject of offers from League One rivals Scunthorpe and Wigan while defenders Tendayi Darikwa, last season’s player of the year, and Ian Evatt have also attracted interest already this summer.
Saunders, in the manager’s job now for just over a month following Cook’s defection to Pompey, was almost resigned to losing Roberts and Ryan but the Welshman has vowed to do all he can to ensure there are no more exits from the Proact Stadium.
“Gary Roberts has got three years, aged 31, on miles more money than we can offer him, and I mean miles more. We couldn’t even think of matching what Portsmouth offered,” Saunders said.
“Jimmy Ryan’s situation was pretty much resolved before I arrived as he had let his contract run down. I tried to salvage it the best I could but he wanted to move back to the north west to be nearer his family.
“I’ve told those above me that I don’t want to lose anybody else but I know that money talks. But unless we get an offer for one of our players that we can’t refuse then they won’t be leaving, as far as I’m concerned.
“We have had interest in some of our players but the offers have been nowhere near what we’d accept.
“Sam Clucas has two years left on his contract and I have high hopes for him. We are not going to let him go on the cheap.
“He’s had one season in League One and I believe he can get even better and improve more. As I said, He’s part way through a cycle of a three-year contract and I believe that in 12 months’ time he will be worth even more money.
“There is a line when the club would have to say yes to an offer but at the minute we are nowhere near that line.
“It depends what you class as interest. If a club offers say B#50,000 for one of our players is that interest? Is that an offer? Not for me it’s not.
“We have values on all our players and when you do well at a club like this then other clubs above you try to cherry-pick your players. That then gives us the problem of trying to match what they are being offered by other clubs. But we will keep plugging away and I’ll try my best not to let any more go.”
As regards players coming into the club, Saunders, who has signed striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, insists there is no need to rush.
“We have players lined up but before I dive in and sign those players I have to know what we can afford, and we have had offers for some of our players,” he said.
“There’s no point signing a player now when I could have got someone better because some more money has become available to me. I don’t know that someone isn’t going to make us an offer we can’t turn down for one of our players.
“There’s no panic, we have everything in order and we have a plan and I can guarantee the supporters that by the time it gets to when it really matters we will have a good team on the pitch and some good players.”
Meanwhile, one of the players who has attracted interest from elsewhere – Evatt – has been offered a new contract to remain at Chesterfield beyond his existing deal.
Saunders said: “I have offered Ian Evatt an extension on his contract. If he hits a target then he gets another year. He’s been offered that deal because he is a big player for us.”
The central defender had been a transfer target for League Two side Oxford.