Keeper Gary Woods has left Aberdeen – and boss Jim Goodwin confirmed more players could yet exit Pittodrie this summer.
The final year of Woods’ Pittodrie contract was terminated by mutual consent.
No.2 behind club captain Joe Lewis, goalie Woods, 31, made five appearances for Aberdeen last season.
Woods is the 13th player to exit Pittodrie as part of Goodwin’s extensive rebuild.
Goodwin confirmed there could be more leaving as he has informed more players they are free to find other clubs.
Woods’ exit ramps up the need to sign a keeper during the window.
Goodwin previously refused to rule out a move for Ipswich Town keeper Vaclav Hladky.
It is understood Ipswich want a fee if Hladky, who has two years left on his deal, is allowed to leave this summer.
Goodwin said: “Gary Woods has left. We managed to agree a termination on that one.
“All the players I want here are well aware of who they are.
“And one or two have been told that if they can find something then they are free to do that.
“We have had conversations with one or two of the lads, they know their positions at the moment.”
Ipswich want £100,000 fee for keeper Hladky
Czech Republic keeper Hladky, 31, played for a season under Goodwin at St Mirren.
He transferred to League Two Salford City in August 2020 and was named in the league’s team of the year in his first full season.
That led to a move to Ipswich Town in summer 2021.
Hladky initially commanded a regular starting at Portman Road.
However, he has not played for Ipswich this year, with Christian Walton now No.1.
A fee of reportedly around £100,000 would be enough to secure Hladky.
Dons have splashed nearly £1 million
Signing a keeper is a priority in a transfer window where Goodwin has made five signings in a rebuild which has already cost almost £1 million in transfer fees.
The Dons paid fees for Bojan Miovski (£535,000, MTK Budapest), Ylber Ramadani (£100,000, MTK Budapest) and Jayden Richardson (£300,000, Nottingham Forest).
Anthony Stewart was secured from Wycombe Wanderers on a pre-contract agreement and will join the Dons at the conclusion of his Wycombe contract on July 1.
Celtic centre-back Liam Scales was also secured on a season-long loan.
‘We won’t stand in their way’
Goodwin will go with a tight squad of just 22 players next season and does not want unhappy players frustrated at lack of game time.
So he has told those unlikely to feature they are free to find another club.
He said: “I never want to stand in the way of people playing football.
“I know what it’s like – I always wanted to play week in, week out myself.
“So we don’t want any members of the squad unhappy that they’re not playing as much as they want.
“We don’t want any unhappy members of the squad that maybe can’t handle having to compete for their place in the team and are maybe used to being regulars in the starting line-up.
“So, if they are used to being in the starting 11 or competing for a place in the team, we won’t stand in their way.”
‘Every player has a valuation’
One player who is fundamental to Goodwin’s plans is Scotland international midfielder Lewis Ferguson.
The 22-year-old was recently the subject of a £1.5 million bid from Championship club Millwall.
That is way below Aberdeen’s estimation for Ferguson, who still has two years left on his contract.
Aberdeen rejected a £2m bid from then Premier League Watford last May.
That was before Ferguson had made his Scotland international debut.
However, Goodwin accepts every player has a price.
He insists this was shown when teen star Calvin Ramsay was sold to Liverpool in a deal which could be worth up to £8m.
The Dons secured £4.5m upfront and could land a further £3.5m in add-ons should the 18-year-old meet certain landmarks at Anfield.
There is serious interest from clubs in Italy’s Serie A for Ferguson.
And it is also understood Watford could revisit their interest in Ferguson this summer.
Goodwin said: “I’m not aware of any bid from Millwall at the moment.
“I’m not privy to those conversations.
“I had a good chat with Lewis and said the same thing I said to Calvin Ramsay. Everybody has a valuation – if it’s met, we’ll have that discussion with the player and his representatives.
“Until that time comes, I’ll be looking forward to having Lewis Ferguson as part of our squad.”
Ferguson to train with squad in Spain
Ferguson will miss the first 10 days of pre-season training in Aberdeen because he was away on international duty with Scotland.
He earned a fourth cap when featuring as a substitute in the 4-1 UEFA Nations League defeat of Armenia on June 14.
Ferguson will jet out with the squad on Monday for their week-long warm weather training camp in Spain.
Goodwin said: “Lewis is on an extended break because of his involvement with the national team, as is Ylber Ramadani.
“Ramadani is still going through the Visa process as well, so hopefully we’ll get him in a bit sooner than we will Bojan Miovski.
“Lewis is going to travel with the team to Spain on Monday morning.”