Lessons must be learnt from a January 2021 transfer window that weakened Aberdeen.
Transfer deadline day last January was overly hectic as the Dons pushed through last gasp deals to rejig a faltering attack.
It was all too little too late for Aberdeen to fix a scoring problem that had been glaringly obvious long before the window opened.
Early signs are that this will be a far different winter window for the Dons.
Aberdeen clearly aim to get business done early and have also warned they will not be dragged into deadline day bids for their players.
The Dons are showing signs they aim to be proactive and decisive in this window.
Messages coming from the club are that Aberdeen will stand strong in January.
Manager Stephen Glass has already warned the Reds will not welcome any late bids.
Chairman Dave Cormack also said the club do not have to sell any players this month.
That is despite the club posting operating losses of £5.19m during the 2020/21 financial year.
USA-based Cormack insists if players are to exit this month it will be on Aberdeen’s terms and only if they can source a replacement or reinvest.
They have set out their battle plan as the club braces itself for bids from England.
Teenage right-back Calvin Ramsay, Ryan Hedges and Lewis Ferguson are all interesting English clubs.
Aberdeen do not want to sell Ramsay this month but with the calibre of clubs interested in the teen they could yet get an offer too good to refuse.
Manchester United, Liverpool, Newcastle United, West Ham and Leicester City all have the spending power to land the teen.
But only if they pay the going rate for a teenager who is registering amongst the top stats for a young right back in Europe and contracted to the club until 2024.
Everton bought Nathan Patterson from Rangers in a deal worth up to £16m.
At a minimum Ramsay’s ‘going rate’ should be more than double the Dons record transfer fee of £3m received for Scott McKenna’s move to Nottingham Forest.
Replacements are also being sourced should any players exit this month.
Aberdeen tabled a bumper contract offer to Ryan Hedges that he has yet to sign.
Blackburn Rovers aim to sign the Welsh international either this window or on a pre-contract.
Aberdeen are already in talks with Peterborough United about attacking midfielder Ryan Broom.
A deal would only be done if Hedges exits this month.
Broom, 25, currently on loan at Plymouth would be a replacement.
Aberdeen are also in talks with St Mirren midfielder Jamie McGrath about a pre-contract deal.
The Dons are confident a deal can be completed. Securing Republic of Ireland international McGrath for next season would be a fantastic acquisition.
McGrath scored 17 goals in all competitions last season.
Ideally a deal can somehow be done to take McGrath to Pittodrie this month although that would involve a fee.
They want no repeat of last year January when the late sale of striker Sam Cosgrove to Birmingham City was the catalyst for a frantic deadline day.
Cosgrove’s £2m transfer on the eve of deadline day sparked the reconstruction of the attack.
🏆 Congratulations Jamie McGrath! @cinchuk SPFL Goal of the Month award winner for November!
— SPFL (@spfl) December 13, 2021
On deadline day strikers Curtis Main transferred to Shrewsbury whilst Bruce Anderson was sent on loan to Hamilton.
Aberdeen then landed three loan strikers hours before the window shut.
Coming in were Florian Kamberi (St Gallen, Switzerland), Fraser Hornby (Reims, France) and Callum Hendry (St Johnstone).
Those three loanees failed to deliver the goals required, netting just four times between them.
The problem is that players only go on loan mid season if they are not getting game time at their parent club.
It means they are invariably sent on loan short of match sharpness and it takes time for them to regain that and bed into the team.
Attacker Scott Wright also exited on transfer deadline day 2021 when signing a permanent deal with Rangers.
He had already signed a pre-contract agreement with the Ibrox club. However Rangers pushed a deal over the line late on.
Wright’s exit left Aberdeen further compromised in attack.
January 2021 must serve as a warning against completing late business – and Aberdeen have clearly heeded it.
American market full of talent
Aberdeen are right to scour the United States for the top emerging young talent.
It makes perfect sense to look towards such a mammoth market when they already have feet on the ground in the United States.
There is an ocean of talent across the Atlantic and the Dons should dive in.
Aberdeen’s strategic partnership with MLS side Atlanta United will allow them to access the club’s scouting network.
Manager Stephen Glass also has almost a decade’s worth of experience working within football in the United States as a player, coach and manager.
Glass will understand the market at all levels from college to MLS.
Recent signing Dante Polvara looks to be an exciting talent and will arrive at Pittodrie with a strong pedigree in college football.
Obviously moving from college football to the Scottish top flight is a big jump.
However Glass clearly believes he has the talent to make that move.
The 21-year-old was in demand with Aberdeen pipping several teams from across Europe and in the MLS to snap up the midfielder.
Midfielder Polvara was named the 2021 MAC Hermann Trophy winner on Friday for being the best player in the college system.
Towering in at 6ft 4in he looks to have the physicality to cope with the Premiership.
Last season he scored seven goals and pitched in with six assists in 22 games for Georgetown University who reached NCAA Division 1 national semi-finals.
Having played college football, Polvara will be an unknown quantity to Aberdeen fans who will only have watched brief video footage of him online.
From the clips he appears to be an attacking midfielder who is strong in possession and has the vision to ping accurate cross-field passes to open up play.
However his real quality will only be seen when in action in Scotland.
If Polvara is a hit at Pittodrie it could entice more talents to come to Aberdeen from the United States.
The shock retirement of Kash Farooq
Scottish boxing suffered a major blow with the shock retirement of bantamweight Kash Farooq at the age of just 26.
A superb talent Farooq was forced to call time on his career after failing to pass a yearly medical with the British Board of Control.
I’m gutted at the news as former British champion Farooq had the boxing world at his feet.
I was fortunate enough to interview Farooq and he was a class act in and out of the boxing ring.
He was set to face fellow Scot Lee McGregor in an eagerly anticipated rematch in April.
Farooq’s split decision loss to McGregor in a British and Commonwealth title fight in November 2019 was one of the fights of the year.