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Sean Wallace: Aberdeen must sell Ronald Hernandez to the MLS in January

Ronald Hernandez.
Ronald Hernandez.

Aberdeen must cash in by selling Venezuelan international Ronald Hernandez to the MLS in January.

They might even make a profit on the £800,000 fee splashed out on the right-back.

Although it didn’t work out for Hernandez at Pittodrie, he has recently played in a high profile league and is a regular international starter.

Surely that will be an attractive package in the MLS.

Hernandez has been on loan at MLS side Atlanta United, Aberdeen’s strategic partner, since February.

Pittodrie chairman Dave Cormack confirmed at the club’s 118th AGM that Hernandez’s  preference is to remain in the United States.

Aberdeen’s Ronald Hernandez is challenged by St Johnstone’s David Wotherspoon

If the defender wants to remain across the Atlantic, ideally the Dons can sell him on to the MLS in the new year to recoup the transfer fee paid in January 2020.

That would also wipe out the wages for a player in the higher bracket of Pittodrie earners.

Hernandez has two-and a-half years left on his Dons’ deal as he is contracted until summer 2024.

Contracts are held by the MLS, not individual clubs, so if Atlanta opt not to sign Hernandez ideally he can go to another club in that league.

It would be of benefit to both the defender and Aberdeen.

Aberdeen splashed out their biggest transfer fee in more than two decades to land Hernandez from Norwegian side Stabaek.

However, the experiment failed to work.

Chairman Cormack confirmed at the club’s AGM that Hernandez ‘didn’t cost the club anything’ because his family put in the money to buy the right-back and converted the cash into shares.

Ronald Hernandez pictured when signing for Aberdeen.

Hernandez has broken into the Atlanta starting line-up recently under new boss Gonzola Pineda, who replaced Gabriel Heinze.

Capped 25 times by his country, the full-back has also reclaimed his starting slot in the Venezuela national squad in recent months.

Hernandez started World Cup qualifiers for Venezuela last month against Brazil, Ecuador and Chile.

He is expected to be called into the Venezuela international squad next month for World Cup qualifiers against Bolivia home (January 26) and Uruguay away (January 31).

This summer Hernandez played, and scored, in the Copa America finals netting against Ecuador.

It was no one-off as he also starred in the 2019 Copa America – starting against eventual winners Brazil and in the quarter-final loss to Argentina.

An established international starter who has played in the finals of major tournaments and is getting game time in the United States’ top flight – if that isn’t an attractive signing proposition for the MLS, what is?

His stock is far higher now than when he exited Pittodrie for a loan spell in the United States in February.

Argentina’s Lionel Messi, right, and Venezuela’s Ronald Hernandez in the 2019 Copa America quarter-final .

The only frustration is a combination of factors conspired to deny him the opportunity to show his talent at Pittodrie.

Hernandez made just three starts, with a further three appearances off the bench, for Aberdeen.

As if that wasn’t frustrating enough, he spent a year in the Granite City separated from his wife and young daughter.

Visa complications due to the coronavirus pandemic denied them being together.

It must have been an horrific, stressful time for Hernandez.

CF Montreal’s Kamal Miller (3) plays a pass as Atlanta United’s Ronald Hernandez (2) moves in.

Thankfully he is now reunited with his family in the United States and his wife recently gave birth to a second child.

He is settled with his family and getting game time at club and international level.

Who can blame Hernandez if his preference is to remain in the United States?

Atlanta United’s season finished last month when crashing out at the first round of the MLS play-offs with a 2-0 loss to New York City.

Aberdeen’s Ronald Hernandez faces Rangers at Ibrox.

However, Hernandez still has a few weeks of his loan deal with Atlanta United remaining.

Aberdeen are in constant dialogue with Atlanta United’s technical director Carlos Bocanegra about many matters, including Hernandez.

The MLS season begins on February 27. Whether Hernandez is in an Atlanta United shirt or another MLS side remains to be seen.

If he is, ideally the Dons will have cashed in.

Beach stadium a win-win-win proposal

A proposed new Aberdeen stadium at the beach could be a win-win-win if it happens.

Aberdeen confirmed at the club’s AGM this week plans for a new stadium are on hold until 2025-26 at the earliest.

The proposed new stadium would also cost between £50-£60m and have a capacity of between 16,000 to 17,000. Pittodrie is currently around 20,000.

Aberdeen are still working on the plans and information on the city’ council’s proposed new stadium site at the beach.

Possible site for a new stadium for Aberdeen Football Club at the beach.

The option for a new stadium at Kingsford remains Plan B with planning permission remaining.

A stadium at the beach would benefit the Dons as it would be close to their spiritual home. The bracing north-east winds sweeping in off the sea and the swooping sea-gulls would still be there.

The stadium would also be an integral part of an exciting, vibrant revamp of the city.

A club’s stadium needs to be in the heart of the city.

It would be a positive for many supporters who will be able to get to the ground far more easily than Kingsford.

There’s something romantic about watching football near the beach. You can go for a walk along the waterfront and have an ice-cream cone.

Aberdeen FC bosses have confirmed the move from Pittodrie to a new stadium at Kingsford is still on the cards.
Aberdeen’s spiritual home of Pittodrie.

Much better than waiting for a bus in Kingsford to get back into the city centre or home.

I would rather have sand in my shoes than blisters.

A stadium at the beach would also benefit Aberdeen city council and local businesses.

The high street was struggling before the pandemic. A city stadium would bring people and footfall.

Kingsford or the beach? For me, it has to be the beach.

Devlin’s fight to win a new contract

Hopefully Scotland international defender Mikey Devlin can battle back to full fitness to earn a new Aberdeen contract.

Centre-back Devlin has been sidelined for a year and was out of contract this summer.

The Dons gave him a six-month contract extension until the end of January to allow him time to prove his fitness.

Aberdeen’s Mikey Devlin at full-time after a 0-0 draw with Rangers at Ibrox in February 2020,

Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass has confirmed he is keen to sign Devlin if he can prove he is fit. Devlin is set to return in six to seven weeks – around the end of his contract.

Devlin has been dogged by injury, but is a rock -solid, talented defender when fit.

Hopefully he can win his fitness battle to earn a new deal and then enjoy an extended injury-free spell.