The £100,000 paid to MTK Budapest for Ylber Ramadani could be one of the best bargain signings in Scottish football this summer.
It is very early days in Ramadani’s Pittodrie career and he has only played against lower league opposition in the Premier Sports Cup.
However it is already clear the midfielder will bring the fight, determination and drive that will be fundamental to Aberdeen’s bid for success this season.
The Albanian international brings a passion, energy and leadership to midfield reminiscent of former Aberdeen skipper Graeme Shinnie.
However Ramadani’s game is about so much more than physicality as the 26-year-old possessed real game intelligence and quality.
He has an impressive knack for opening up space in a congested midfield and being in the right place at the right time.
Ramadani is clearly a class act and the Dons appear to have unearthed a gem from MTK Budapest who were relegated at the end of last season.
The £100,000 fee paid to the Hungarian club already appears to be a snip for the Dons.
Obviously the real test of Ramadani’s credentials will come in the Premiership opener against champions Celtic at Parkhead on Sunday July 31.
I fully expect Ramadani to stamp his authority at Parkhead.
Ramadani has played against World champions France, Spain and England.
If he makes the impact his pedigree suggests he is capable of then there is no doubt the midfielder will move onto the radar of other clubs.
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) July 14, 2022
Securing him on a long term three year contract is a wise move by the Dons. At 26 Ramadani is reaching his prime.
If the summer signing can impress on the first team for a season or two he could eventually be sold on at a substantial profit.
That is the model that will not only sustain Aberdeen moving forward but also grow the club.
Source exciting talent, buy at a bargain then sell for a profit after 50 plus games impressing on the first team.
Miovski is set to finally meet up with the squad this week when his Visa application process, drawn out by Brexit red tape, is completed.
The striker is expected to make his debut against Raith Rovers on Sunday.
Aberdeen also secured a bargain with the signing of Miovski, capped 10 times.
MTK Budapest rejected a bid of €1.2 million (£1.03m) from Austrian club Rapid Vienna for the striker last summer.
Czech Republic club Slavia Prague were keen on signing Miovski in January.
However it is understood they were quoted a price of between €1.5m to €2m (£1.28m to £1.71m).
That was Miovski’s valuation just six months before signing for the Reds.
However MTK Budapest’s relegation to the Hungarian second tier prompted a fire-sale of their overseas players.
Aberdeen benefitted to land both Ramadani and Miovski in bargain moves.
Secured on June 8, Ramadani was the first signing of a significant summer rebuild by manager Jim Goodwin.
The capture of Benfica signing Luis Lopes was the Dons’ seventh signing of the window.
Another three signings are planned with Goodwin targeting a winger, No.10 and attacking midfielder.
Since arriving at Pittodrie as the new manager in mid February 15 players have exited the club.
With only seven signed so far the transfer window has been quality over quantity.
There is genuine optimism amongst Aberdeen supporters following a summer rebuild.
However they have been in this movie before.
There was much optimism last summer following former manager Stephen Glass’ rebuild.
This is now boss Goodwin’s team and it is up to him and the new look Dons to deliver.
There is a feeling that with players like Ramadani secured the optimism will not be misplaced.
That instead of witnessing a horror Dons fans will finally get to experience a feel good movie – where Ramadani is one of the main stars.
European qualification essential
The abject failure of Aberdeen last season was hammered home when Scottish clubs discovered their European opponents on Monday.
For seven straight years Dons supporters had watched the UEFA draw with anticipation and excitement.
This year they are not at the Euro party.
Instead of looking forward to a Euro tie the Reds last night faced Stirling Albion in the Premier Sports Cup group stages.
That is the price of failing to qualify for Europe for the first time since 2014.
As Celtic, Rangers, Hearts, Dundee United and Motherwell discovered their Euro destinations the Dons were preparing to face League Two Stirling.
It is a painful reminder of the cost of failure for last season.
That cannot happen again. The minimum requirement of Jim Goodwin’s squad, rebuilt at a cost in excess of £1 million in transfer fees, is European qualification.
Missing out on Europe last season was particularly costly for Aberdeen.
Hearts, who finished third and were beaten in the Scottish Cup final, will bank in excess of £3 million from Europe this season.
The Tynecastle club are guaranteed European football until at least Christmas.
They go straight into the UEFA Europa League at the play-off stage with a place in the lucrative groups up for grabs.
Should they lose that two legged play-off tie Hearts drop into the UEFA Conference League group stages.
Aberdeen’s reconstructed team must get the club back into Europe.
It is what the supporters and the budget demand.
Exciting knock-out boxing format
Elgin welterweight Andrew Smart will put his undefeated record on the line in a new ‘Last Man Standing’ format.
Smart and three other undefeated welterweights will compete in the knock-out format in the bid to get a Scottish title shot.
On September 3 Smart will face Paul Deas in Inverness over six rounds.
Then on October 1 Kris Boyd will box Robbie Graham, also over six rounds.
The winners of each fight will face one another over eight rounds before the end of the year.
It is a fresh format that will see one boxer ready for a Scottish title shot.