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Sean Wallace: Major concerns after dismal January window for Aberdeen

Former Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass
Former Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass

It is concerning Aberdeen have emerged from a pivotal January transfer window weaker than when it opened.

During the winter window the noise coming from Pittodrie was that the club aimed to emerge stronger.

That certainly hasn’t happened which is a worry for a team sitting sixth in the Premiership table when the window shut.

It is a concern for a club with a woeful away record that slumped to a damaging 10 game run without a win only three months ago.

A worry for a club with just five clean sheets in 30 games prior to facing Ross County.

Any Dons fan expecting transfer deadline day drama or the club to pull a rabbit out of the hat were left woefully underwhelmed.

Whether that feeling remains throughout the remainder of the season remains to be seen.

January was an opportunity to make a clear statement of intent regarding aspirations for the second half of the season.

It was a chance to pile pressure on rivals and show they meant business in the hunt for Europe and the Scottish Cup.

Aberdeen’s Ryan Hedges in action against St Mirren

That hasn’t happened.

The January transfer window in 2021 was disastrous – and this one wasn’t any better.

With Marley Watkins out injured until March it is baffling why the Dons let Ryan Hedges, Niall McGinn and Austin Samuels leave.

To replace that creativity Vicente Besuijen was brought in. The winger has played recently in the Dutch top flight but there is a lot of pressure on a 20-year-old to deliver immediately.

Aberdeen needed to sign more than one experienced creative game-changer.

That need ramped up with the loss of Hedges to Blackburn Rovers in a £200,000 transfer.

Dante Polvara defends during the first half of an NCAA men’s  semifinal

Welsh international Hedges has been one of Aberdeen’s main creative outlets in recent seasons. When he ticked, Aberdeen ticked.

It is testament to his skills that Blackburn, currently second in the English Championship, have brought him in to boost their bid for promotion to the top flight.

When he exited there should have been a Plan B, C, D… all the way up to Z to replace him with similar experience and quality.

The three signings secured in January look to be exciting young talents.

Aberdeen attacker Ryan Hedges in action against St Mirren.

Besuijen arrived from ADO Den Haag in the Dutch second tier and appears capable of making a significant contribution.

However Beuijen, like other signings Adam Montgomery and Dante Polvara, are young talents all about promise.

Polvara is a completely unknown quantity having come from United States college football.

On loan from Celtic, Montgomery played eight times in Europe for the Hoops this season, starting four and is an exciting prospect.

However he will be unable to face parent club Celtic at Pittodrie next week.

Aberdeen were burnt by a similar situation before in the 2017 Scottish Cup final.

Ryan Christie, on loan from Celtic, had been superb all season and scored in the semi-final win for the Dons.

However he was ineligible by the terms of his loan agreement to face Celtic in the final. Aberdeen lost 2-1.

Last year the January deadline day saw a flurry of activity with three loan strikers taken in – Florian Kamberi, Callum Hendry and Fraser Hornby.

New Aberdeen signing Vicente Besuijen in action for ADO Den Haag.

It was a disastrous last roll of the dice as they came in short of match sharpness and failed to make any impact.

But at least there was activity, albeit extremely late, to fix a problem.

Again in this window Aberdeen needed to sign another striker to fix a potential problem – that I hope does not arise.

The Dons are an injury to Christian Ramirez away from a goal-scoring crisis.

On 12 goals this season, Ramirez is the only player consistently delivering goals from open play.

Aberdeen’s Christian Ramirez during the 1-0 loss to St Mirren.

I have no doubt the Dons’ recruitment team worked hard to source a striker.

They are notoriously difficult to source as they are in high demand and don’t come cheap if they have a record of finding the back of the net.

However the bottom line is they failed to fix the clear need for another goalscorer – and it could prove costly.

One major positive was retaining Calvin Ramsay after knocking back a bid of £4.8m from Bologna.

Aberdeen’s Calvin Ramsay in action against St Mirren.

Ramsay is an exceptional talent and he can continue his development at Pittodrie.

If the teen maintains his career trajectory he will not only light up Scottish football but his worth will rocket way beyond £4.8m.

Devlin finally closing in on a return

Hopefully Aberdeen defender Mikey Devlin can put almost two years of injury frustration behind him by returning to action.

The 28-year-old is set to be offered a new contract by Aberdeen.

Devlin has yet to play under manager Stephen Glass and he will be given a six month deal until the end of the season.

Aberdeen defender Mikey Devlin at training this week as he battles back to fitness.

It has been an horrific spell for Devlin who has played just 56 minutes in the last 18 months.

He last featured when introduced as a substitute in the 1-1 draw with St Mirren on December 5, 2020.

It is testament to his strength of character and determination that Devlin is set to return to full training later this week.

There has been setback after setback but he has battled through.

Hopefully Devlin will return to action and the levels he delivered in his first season at Pittodrie.

Mikey Devlin during an Aberdeen training session at Cormack Park, on January 14.

Devlin was one of the Reds’ best players in that first season until suffering a foot injury whilst on international duty.

There is no doubting Devlin’s talent. It is just frustrating injury has denied him the opportunity to show it in recent years.

Devlin’s return is also testament to the faith shown in the defender by Aberdeen.

His original contract expired last summer and the Reds could easily have parted ways.

However they displayed faith in the defender and hopefully it is now paying off.

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

Dean Sutherland to defend WBC title

I can’t wait to see Aberdeen’s undefeated boxing champion Dean Sutherland in action on Friday March 11.

One of the hottest young talents in Scotland, Sutherland will defend his WBC International Silver title with a home city show at the Beach Ballroom.

Aberdeen’s Dean Sutherland holds the WBC International Silver welterweight belt up to his fans.

Sutherland is progressing with each fight and delivered a superb performance to win the WBC belt with an eighth-round stoppage of Michele Esposito last November.

Southpaw Sutherland’s career is on an rapid upwards trajectory and this is the latest installment of many more title fights.

Watch Sutherland continue to rise. There will be many more title wins to come.

 

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