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Joe Harper: Albanian midfielder Ylber Ramadani can bring bite to Aberdeen

Albanian international Ylber Ramadani ahead of a clash with Spain in Barcelona in March 2022.
Albanian international Ylber Ramadani ahead of a clash with Spain in Barcelona in March 2022.

Albanian international Ylber Ramadani will hopefully add leadership and aggression to the Aberdeen side.

The Dons have agreed a fee with Hungarian club MTK Budapest to secure the 26-year-old holding midfielder.

Ramadani has played in the Hungarian, Danish and Albanian top flights in recent seasons.

He is an unknown quantity but early reports are that he is an aggressive midfielder who leads by example.

Good. I don’t want footballers to be nice guys on the pitch – I want them to get in the faces of opposition players.

Ylber Ramadani of Albania and Kalvin Phillips of England during a World Cup qualifying tie at Wembley on November 12, 2021.

Aberdeen need to sign players with bite, edge and controlled aggression that will drive on the team for 90 minutes.

The Reds need players with dig who will get stuck in and fire up the fans.

A player can be the nicest person off the pitch and a total gentleman – but as soon as he crosses that line I want to see that aggression.

High praise

Aberdeen require more aggressive winners during the summer rebuild.

Every successful team has players with those qualities driving them on and hopefully Ramadani can deliver that.

Ylber Ramadani in action for Albania against Spain.

Ramadani is set to become the first signing of the summer transfer window.

His former manager Adolfo Sormani talked about the midfielder in glowing terms.

Former Juventus coach Sormani rates Ramadani so highly he managed him at two different clubs.

He handed him a debut in a Champions League qualifying clash with Partizan Tirana then later signed him for Danish side Vejle BK.

Former Watford assistant Sormani said Ramadani will lead by example and can become an idol for Aberdeen supporters.

That is high praise and I’m excited to see what he can bring to the Dons.

Aberdeen need players with leadership qualities after a season where they finished a dismal 10th in the Premiership table.

Ramadani is an established Albanian international who has made 15 appearances for his country.

He has played against international teams such as England, France and Spain.

Right to spread the net across Europe

Aberdeen are right to spread the net across Europe to find new signings.

Why restrict yourself to the United Kingdom when there are so many talented players operating at a top level across the continent.

Exciting talent can be sourced from the many leagues across Europe – you just need the right scouting network to capitalise.

In the January transfer window the Dons swooped on the Dutch second tier to land Vicente Besuijen.

Aberdeen winger Vicente Besuijen celebrates netting a superb goal against Hibs.

The winger was secured from ADO Den Haag on a four-and-a-half year contract.

Like Ramadani is now, Besuijen will have been an unknown name to the vast majority of Aberdeen supporters when he was signed.

However he quickly made an impact with his creativity and positive play.

Ideally it will be the same with Ramadani who is currently on international duty with Albania for the UEFA Nations League.

Aberdeen boss Jim Goodwin faces a big rebuild during the summer transfer window as last season was a disaster.

Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin during the 0-0 draw with St Mirren.

This will be his first transfer window since coming in as manager in mid February.

Goodwin and his recruitment team have to get it right because the Reds must get back on track next season.

A successful transfer window is the bedrock of a successful campaign.

It is only a few weeks before the Dons return for pre-season training ahead of the Premier Sports Cup campaign.

Hopefully most of the new signings will be in place by then to allow Goodwin the time to gel the new look squad.

Ukraine just too good for Scotland

Congratulations to Ukraine who deservedly set up a World Cup play-off final showdown with Wales on Sunday.

Much has been made about how poor Scotland were in the 3-1 loss to Ukraine at Hampden.

However, I prefer to focus on just how good Ukraine were on the night.

They were superb and only the heroics of keeper Craig Gordon prevented Ukraine scoring more.

Many of the Ukraine side had not played competitively this year as Russia’s invasion came during their winter break.

Scott McTominay and Andy Robertson are dejected at full-time after losing to Ukraine.

However they were by far the better team in all departments in the play-off semi-final.

It was more World Cup qualifying disappointment for Scotland.

A whole generation of players, and supporters, have missed out on seeing the Scots grace the biggest stage in world football.

In the seventies and eighties Scotland were regulars at the World Cup.

Sadly we haven’t graced that tournament since France in 1998.

We all got a taste of a major tournament last summer when Scotland played in Euro 2020.

That just makes missing out on the World Cup in Qatar all the more painful.

The loss to Ukraine showed that Scotland are far from the finished article and there is more improvement and tweaks needed.

Scotland must now pick themselves up for the UEFA Nations League clash with Armenia at Hampden on Wednesday.

They cannot let this heartbreaking defeat derail the recent progress under manager Steve Clarke.

Ukraine’s Roman Yaremchuk scores to make it 2-0 against Scotland.

Spanish camp will help Dons gel

Jim Goodwin’s rebuilt Aberdeen squad can use a week in Spain to gel ahead of the new campaign.

The Dons have confirmed they will travel to Spain later this month for a training camp.

It offers an opportunity for the new signings, hopefully many, to get to know their team-mates.

Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin during the 1-1 draw with Hibs at Easter Road.

The camp will be an intensive period of graft and working on manager Jim Goodwin’s footballing philosophy on the training pitch.

However away from that it will give the players time to bond which is vital for a successful team.