Silly season is almost upon us in Scottish football which can mean only one thing – transfer speculation is about to spread like wildfire.
Aberdeen can expect to be right at the heart of much of it this summer as Dons boss Derek McInnes faces up to a major rebuild at Pittodrie.
Curtis Main is expected to be confirmed as an Aberdeen player early next month after agreeing a two-year deal to move to the Dons from Motherwell while former Reds defender Ash Taylor has also held talks with the club about a return to Scottish football after terminating his contract at Northampton Town.
Adding a central defender and a striker to his squad would be a promising start for McInnes but with the Dons boss shopping for free agents this summer he will have to choose wisely as he searches for new recruits.
Luckily for him, we’ve done some digging ourselves at the Press and Journal sportsdesk to weigh up some potential targets to add to his shopping list.
The Dons lost one of their own in Graeme Shinnie following the captain’s departure for Derby County so who better to replace him than another one of their own in fellow Aberdonian Paul Coutts.
The 30-year-old was on Aberdeen’s books as a youngster before joining Cove Rangers in the Highland League. He moved to England with Peterborough United in 2008 and has spent the last 11 years in English football following spells at Preston North End, Derby County and most recently Sheffield United.
The 32-year-old Scot, who left Kilmarnock in 2011 to join Derby County, is something of a cult hero at Pride Park following his £350,000 move from Rugby Park eight years ago. A box-to-box player who has played for his country, Bryson is wanted by Killie who are keen to bring him back to Ayrshire but the Dons would also be a good option for him and his energy in midfield would appeal to McInnes.
The Dons would love to bring Max Lowe back on loan from Derby County and if the Rams win promotion to the Premier League next week then their chances of landing him may improve, but Rangers boss Steven Gerrard is also casting admiring glances towards the left back.
One permanent option for the Dons could be Bradford City’s Paul Caddis. A graduate of Celtic’s youth academy, Caddis has played for Swindon, Birmingham City, Bury, Blackburn and Bradford City, and is a free agent after his contract with the Bantams expires this summer.
The Irishman is a potential replacement for Gary Mackay-Steven should the winger move on to pastures new. McInnes says he is already planning for life without his talented attacking midfielder and Carey, formerly of St Mirren and Ross County, would be a good fit after a fine spell in England with Plymouth Argyle. With an average of roughly a goal every three games for Argyle Carey, 30, is an intriguing option.
The striker has scored 22 goals in League One this season, prompting his club Gillingham, who finished 13th, to offer him a new deal.
McInnes needs to bolster his attacking options and should Celtic lend the Dons a helping hand and beat Hearts in the Scottish Cup final tomorrow, Aberdeen can use the chance to play in the Europa League this summer to help them attract new players. The 27-year-old, an imposing target man, has found form at Gillingham and will be a target of several clubs.
The 25 year-old’s loan spell at Aberdeen this season can be summed up in one word – unlucky. A shoulder injury kept him out for months and within weeks of returning he suffered a knee injury which ended his season.
He is out of contract at Watford and despite his lack of first-team action McInnes remains an admirer. A versatile player who can play at right back or central defence, Hoban may just fancy a fresh start in Scotland.