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On-loan Wolves attacker Austin Samuels targets permanent Aberdeen contract

Aberdeen's Austin Samuels (23) and Ross County's  Connor Randall (2) in the 1-1 draw.
Aberdeen's Austin Samuels (23) and Ross County's Connor Randall (2) in the 1-1 draw.

On-loan Wolves striker Austin Samuels is targeting a permanent Aberdeen contract at the end of the season.

The Dons have an option-to-buy clause in their agreement with the English Premier League side following the conclusion of Samuels’ loan spell.

Samuels, 20, hopes to “kick-start” his career at Pittodrie and impress boss Stephen Glass enough to trigger the clause to buy him.

Former England Youth international Samuels made an impressive starting debut in the 1-1 draw with Ross County prior to the international break.

Samuels said: “There’s an option for Aberdeen to buy me at the end of the loan period.

“So, all going well and if both parties are happy, there’s a chance I’ll stay.

“I can develop and kick-start my career. I’m 20 now and have a lot of years to go in the game.

“I knew my next move would have to be right for me and benefit me a lot.

“I felt the move to Aberdeen would be a good one and hopefully I can prove that.”

Austin Samuels in action during his loan spell at Bradford during the 2020-21 season.

Samuels, who is set to face Motherwell away on Saturday, signed a contract extension with Wolves during the summer, but wants regular first team football at a high level.

A product of the Wolves Youth Academy, the former England under-17 international had loan spells at League Two Bradford City and Kidderminster Harriers in England’s sixth tier.

Relishing playing at top end of the table

Following a frustrating time at Bradford in the first half of last season, he returned to Molineux in January to rejoin the under-23s group, scoring four times in 13 appearances to help Wolves finish fourth in Premier League 2 Division 2.

During his loan spell at Bradford, the Bantams were struggling near the foot of League Two and fighting against relegation.

Samuels expects to be pushing near the top of the Premiership with Aberdeen, which will provide an environment for his talents to flourish.

He said: “Aberdeen are always at the top end of the league table.

“It is better to be up there, because it means you are in with a good group of players.

“The better the players you are around, the better you are going to be as well.

“That then makes your talent shine out as well.

“I was at Bradford and it was tough.

“They were struggling, we didn’t get many results and we were at bottom of end the table.  Their manager (Stuart McCall) was sacked in December 2020.

“Interim managers came in  and the team took off a bit, but my loan there ended in January.”

Tough to break through at Wolves

Samuels has been at Wolves since the age of eight and accepts chances will be limited at the Premier League outfit.

Wolves boss Bruno Lage has experienced strikers like Mexican international Raul Jimenez (86 caps) and Portugal international Pedro Neto available.

He said: “It is hard breaking into a Premiership side like Wolves.

“They always had good players, but they have got even stronger now.

“When I was growing up, they were in the Championship or League One, now their ambitions are a lot higher, so it is harder for young players.

“But for someone who has been involved with the club for a while, it is still good to see them doing well.”

Reunited with Dons coach Allan Russell

Samuels briefly worked with Aberdeen assistant manager Allan Russell when the 40-year-old led a training session with Wolves’ attackers.

Russell is a respected striker coach who previously worked with Gareth Southgate’s England national team – including their run to the 2018 World Cup semi-final.

Management team – Boss Stephen Glass alongside coaches Allan Russell and Henry Apaloo.

After learning much from one session, Samuels is excited at the prospect of how his game can develop with a whole season of Russell’s coaching.

He said: “I worked with Allan Russell when he came to Wolves to give us a one-off session.

“There were set drills he brought that we had to do and he also gave us tips on finishing.

“What he brought that day to us was really beneficial.”

Excited by prospect of playing for Aberdeen

Samuels was one of three new signings unveiled against Ross County with on-loan Newcastle United midfielder Matty Longstaff also making a starting debut.

Attacker Marley Watkins was introduced off the bench in the second half, having recently signed a two-year permanent contract.

Watkins had been influential during a loan spell from Bristol City last season until suffering an injury in November that forced him to return to his then parent club.

Aberdeen’s Marley Watkins warms up pre-match against Ross County.

Scotland international centre-back David Bates was also secured on a three-year contract from Bundesliga 2 side SV Hamburg.

Bates watched the Ross County match from the sidelines as Aberdeen awaited international clearance.

The defender is set to make his debut away to Motherwell today.

Aberdeen’s new signing David Bates with Ryan Hedges before the 1-1 draw with Ross County. Hedges is out injured.

Samuels said: “I saw there was a good bunch of players at Aberdeen, the gaffer was good and so were the assistants.

“As soon as I heard Aberdeen were interested I was excited, but I didn’t want to get too ahead of myself.

“I kept it quiet for a while and then, when I knew it was happening, I definitely wanted to go to Aberdeen.

“Then I saw the stadium and the atmosphere from the fans.”