The Aberdeen transfer window sprang into life this week with a potentially exciting arrival and a high-profile departure.
The news of the signing of Vicente Besuijen sparked much positivity among the fans and it certainly does look a stirring capture. I had never heard of the player, but anyone who has been in the Ajax youth system, and been signed by AS Roma, has to have something, and the club has made a big investment in the winger, both in terms of the transfer fee and the length of contract.
We might not see him in action immediately, but there will be a real sense of expectation when we do. If he can find his form quickly and settle in, Vicente might be able to write another successful chapter in the story of Aberdeen’s long association with Dutch football.
Not for the first time, the Dons pipped Hibernian to the signing, and from what I understand, that history, and the impact made by the likes of Snelders, Mason and others, played a part in Besuijen’s decision.
Withing hours of the announcement of his arrival, news emerged that Niall McGinn’s near decade long stay at Pittodrie had come to an end.
Under other circumstances, that would have been a sad occasion, but at this stage of his career, Niall needs to be playing, and he wasn’t likely to get much game time with the Dons given the way this season has panned out.
Now he has the opportunity to get going again, and I hope he is able to enjoy an Indian summer before his time on the pitch draws to a close.
Niall is a brilliant guy and has been an outstanding servant for Aberdeen. In his peak years, from signing in 2012 through until his brief sojourn to South Korea, the Northern Irishman was at times unplayable, and contributed hugely to everything the side achieved back then.
He is unquestionably among the top-ten performers in a Dons shirt since the glory days of the 1980s, and alongside that has put together arguably the best international career by any Aberdeen player since the likes of Miller, McLeish, Leighton and their contemporaries.
His exit leaves just Jonny Hayes and Andrew Considine of the 2014 League Cup-winning squad still at Pittodrie and is another sign of the revolution under Stephen Glass.
We may well have to wait until the summer to see that properly feeding through, and the recruitment team will be hoping for better success ahead of the 2022-23 season.
Scott Brown, Christian Ramirez, David Bates and, when fit, Marley Watkins have proved excellent signings. Teddy Jenks has also impressed of late, and Gary Woods did fine during his brief outings, but a hit rate of around 50% is neither acceptable nor sustainable.
Gurr, Samuels and Longstaff have gone, Declan Gallagher has never got going, and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas – who looked unfit on Tuesday night – has produced pretty much what I expected.
It would be no surprise to see the Dons careers of the latter two cut short, and there are others, fringe players if you like, who may well also be away by the summer.
After the signings of Besuijen and Dante Polvara, I would expect a few pre-contract announcements to follow, and a very different Aberdeen first team squad for the next campaign.
Display at St Mirren showed Dons shake-up is much needed
Going by the midweek showing against St Mirren, that shake-up is much needed.
I wasn’t working, so took the opportunity to go along as a fan, hoping to see the side pick up where they had left off in the excellent performance against Rangers the previous midweek.
What we got instead was a return to the hugely disappointing days of last autumn, where the team limped through a succession of impotent displays.
Not a single player reached the levels they are capable of, and any hopes of targeting third place evaporated in the Paisley drizzle. The real challenge will be securing a top-six finish if the players continue in that vein.
With the sides around them all picking up points, the Dons are now facing a serious battle if they are to achieve that. The next month is going to be pivotal in that respect.
🔴 Aberdeen have lost 7 of their 11 Premiership away games this season.
— EveningExpress Sport (@ee_sport) January 27, 2022