Aberdeen’s hopes of landing their top two transfer targets Shaun Maloney and Stevie May have received a setback.
New Hull City manager Leonid Slutsky has opened the door for Maloney to return to the Tigers, while Preston manager Alex Neil, who was named as Simon Grayson’s successor at Deepdale on Tuesday, has offered May a fresh chance to establish himself at the Championship club.
The Dons had expected to complete the signing of the 34-year-old Scotland international Maloney earlier this week but the move has been placed on hold due to an injury concern.
It is believed Maloney requires a hernia operation that would rule him out of Aberdeen’s Europa League qualifiers.
However Slutsky, who held his first press conference as new Hull manager yesterday, said the club remains in contact with Maloney and may offer the former Celtic player a fresh deal.
The Russian said: “I spoke with him before, maybe five days ago, and we spoke about his situation.
“He tried to explain to me his position and now maybe we will come back to new negotiations.
“Maybe he will come back.
“It is a very strange situation but our doctors and science department know him and know how to use him.
“We know his injury and for us it’s not serious problem.”
Aberdeen’s other main target May could also remain south of the border.
The Dons were given encouragement that a deal could be done while Grayson was in charge and tabled £250,000 and £300,000 for the Scotland cap May but were told the Deepdale club wanted to recoup at least half of the £800,000 they paid Sheffield Wednesday for the forward.
May scored 26 goals in 35 games while playing alongside Neil during a loan spell at Hamilton Accies four years ago and the new Preston manager is keen to give the forward a second chance at Deepdale.
The former St Johnstone player missed the majority of last season because of a serious knee injury.
Neil, who was also unveiled yesterday, said he doesn’t intend to rip up the current Preston squad.
He said: “We are trying to build a young, hungry squad capable of pushing their way up the league.
“It may take time but given that time I believe we can achieve that.
“I’m not here to rip up anything that is already in place.
“I want to try to help nurture the younger lads coming through and try to add a couple of bits of quality to the squad to try to help us.”
The Dons take on Arbroath United at Gayfield this evening (7.30pm) kick-off in their final friendly before next Thursday’s Europa League qualifier against either Bosnian side NK Siroki Brijeg or Ordabasy from Kazakhstan.
The Bosnians travel to Almaty for today’s second leg with a 2-0 advantage.