Paul Third: One man in, one man out… Transfer clock is ticking for McInnes

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The clock is ticking as Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes waits for the transfer window to close.

It has been a busier month than usual in Scottish football with clubs signing players at a rapid rate.

Motherwell have signed four in the last 24 hours alone while Ross County’s traditional revolving door continues with players leaving or being loaned out while others come in to take their place in Jim McIntyre’s first team squad.

At Pittodrie, however, the Dons have brought in just one new face so far with Ryan Christie’s loan move from Celtic coming out of the blue this week.

Having watched Christie on several occasions there is no doubting the young man’s talent and I expect he will be a success at Pittodrie but it has become clear that he has brought in as a direct replacement for James Maddison.

Remember him?

The young man from Norwich City who could glide past players with ease and score last minute winners against Rangers.

Aye, him.

Scoring a wonder goal against Rangers is the best way for any player to endear himself to the Dons support and Maddison certainly did that in style but with the Dons going through a sticky patch he found himself on the bench in the last couple of games of his spell at the club and it seems he didn’t fancy the prospect of coming back to fight for his place.

Norwich City manager Alex Neil has confirmed this afternoon Maddison does not want to go out on loan again and has told him he wants to fight for a first team place at Carrow Road.

I’m sure the Red Army will wish him well but there’s no time for dwelling on players who are no longer here; not when the focus is on keeping the squad intact and trying to add to it before Tuesday’s midnight deadline.

Preston North End’s Stevie May is the man McInnes wants but the former St Johnstone man is one player in a house of cards. The Dons have already let Wes Burns leave to free up wages but now they have to play the waiting game.

Preston, who are trying to entice Robbie Keane to join them, won’t let May go out on loan until they get a replacement.

May wants to go to Aberdeen and if the Dons get their man it could lead to a parting of the ways between Miles Storey and the club.

Caley Thistle want to bring Storey back to the Highlands but there is interest from others with Ross County also monitoring events along with Kilmarnock and Dundee.

Are you keeping up with this? Good, let’s continue.

May is not the only issue facing McInnes and the Dons, however, with Cardiff City expected to try their luck again with one last bid for Jonny Hayes. A figure of £800,000 has been mentioned – a fee well below my valuation of the player – but if Hayes wants to go then the Dons may just take the money.

It wouldn’t be the seven figure sum Aberdeen want but it is money which could prove useful when it comes to contract negotiations, of which there is still much work to be done.

Niall McGinn, Ryan Jack, Ashton Taylor, Andy Considine and Peter Pawlett are the big names yet to commit their future to the club and one would assume McInnes is keen to keep most of them.

None of this has to be resolved by the deadline on Tuesday but one pre-contract agreement followed by a bid may just lead to one of these players moving on.

Keep the players and land May and I’d suggest the Dons are in better shape for the second half of the season than they were before the window opened.

Lose a Hayes or McGinn and fail to bring in another forward and I’d struggle to make the same argument.

All of this while trying to prepare for a trip to Celtic on Wednesday. Who’d be a manager?