Aberdeen will have to offload players to land new signings in the January transfer window, confirmed boss Stephen Glass.
Glass says the Reds’ incomings in this month’s window will be dictated by the amount of players exiting Pittodrie.
A host of English Premier League clubs and European outfits are in the race to sign right-back Calvin Ramsay.
Aberdeen are braced for bids for the 18-year-old during the window.
Glass is also resigned to losing Welsh international attacker Ryan Hedges either in this window or the summer.
Aberdeen offered a bumper deal to the 26-year-old but he has yet to sign.
Blackburn Rovers are set to launch a fresh move to land Hedges having had a bid of £400,000 rejected in the summer.
A number of fringe players at Aberdeen could also exit in the search for game time.
Glass is keen to land St Mirren’s Republic of Ireland midfielder Jamie McGrath.
The Dons want to complete a deal this month but would be open to securing the 25-year-old on a pre-contract.
Aberdeen have also been linked with St Johnstone keeper Zander Clark.
However Glass insists there will have to be movement out of Pittodrie to make way for new signings.
He said: “A lot is going to be dependent on what’s going out, that dictates what can come in.
“I don’t think adding without people leaving is probably going to happen.
“We also know that we’ve got good value in a lot of the players here.
“That’s important, that the squad continues to have a big value in it in terms of the young players in it and the players who are desirable for other clubs.”
Two loan players have already left
Aberdeen have already cut two players from the first team squad with the exit of Austin Samuels and Matty Longstaff to their parent clubs.
Samuels (Wolves) and Longstaff (Newcastle United) were both secured last summer on season long loans.
Aberdeen also had an option to buy at the end of Samuels loan spell in the summer.
Samuels, 21, made just three starts with a further three appearances off the bench.
Longstaff, 21, also started three games with two further substitute appearances.
Glass explains the reasoning behind the likelihood the Reds will only secure additions after players have exited.
He said: “You don’t want to carry too heavy a squad, you want to keep them all happy.
“We’ve shown we can do that until now.”
Aberdeen building for the future
Another early movement in the transfer window is the recall of 19-year-old midfielder Connor Barron from a season long loan spell at Kelty Hearts.
Barron made 14 appearances for the League Two leaders.
On his Pittodrie return Barron penned a two-and-a-half year contract extension until summer 2024.
He is the latest rising Dons star to pen a long term contract.
Left back Jack MacKenzie, 21. signed a new contract in November until summer 2025.
Glass’ confidence in squad strength
Although Glass refuses to overburden his players not getting game time he is confident the Dons will emerge from the January transfer window strong.
As well as potential injury problems that can stretch resources squads will also have to be robust enough to cope with any possible Covid-19 problems.
A number of Scottish clubs have suffered outbreaks recently.
Dundee had a request to the SPFL rejected to cancel their Boxing Day game with Aberdeen at Pittodrie due to a Covid outbreak.
The Dundee squad was decimated as one player tested positive for Covid and another five were ruled out as close contacts.
It meant Dundee’s bench comprised two goalkeepers, a 17-year-old rookie assistant manager Dave Mackay, who was registered as a player on the morning of the game.
St Mirren also had a recent request to postpone a game against Celtic rejected by the SPFL despite having 11 players ruled out because of Covid-related issues.
Glass said: “You won’t find clubs leaving themselves short, that’s a definite.
“Otherwise they’ll have to go really into the young ones.
“Fortunately, we’ve got a really good youth programme and the young ones, if it became a difficult situation, we’ve got young ones we would put in there.
“That’s probably one of the reasons for bringing Connor Barron back as well.”