Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Sean Wallace: Don’t panic Red Army – Duk wants to stay at Aberdeen and the club are in no rush to sell him

Potential European group stage action against continental big guns could act as a further incentive for in-form striker Duk to remain at Pittodrie next season

Luis 'Duk' Lopes of Aberdeen celebrates his second goal against Hearts a few weeks ago. Image: Shutterstock
Luis 'Duk' Lopes of Aberdeen celebrates his second goal against Hearts a few weeks ago. Image: Shutterstock

Many Aberdeen fans may be concerned about the growing list of clubs tracking goal hero Duk.

They shouldn’t as there are two fundamentals that shine amidst the list of clubs monitoring Duk and the striker also saying Benfica would get up to 50% of any transfer fee.

Firstly, Duk has repeatedly stated he loves playing for Aberdeen and wants to stay at the club beyond the summer.

Secondly, Aberdeen are in no rush to sell the 23-year-old and view Duk as key to the bid for success next season.

Duk is also contracted to the Dons until summer 2025 so the Reds are very much in the driving seat.

English Premier League side Everton are the latest club to place the Cape Verde international on their radar.

Aberdeen’s Luis ‘Duk’ Lopes celebrates scoring to make it 1-0 against Kilmarnock. Image: SNS.

Everton sent a scout to Dingwall to watch Duk score in the 1-0 win at Ross County to take his season’s tally to 18 in all competitions.

Championship leaders Burnley, who have already earned promotion to the English top flight, are also tracking Duk.

Add Championship clubs Blackburn Rover and Hull City as Italian Serie A clubs Bologna and Spezia Calcio to the list of admirers.

Duk celebrates scoring to make it 1-0 Aberdeen against Ross County. Image: SNS.

Yet a happy player who has constantly underlined his commitment to the Dons and a Pittodrie board that want him to stay is not the combination for a summer transfer exit.

Obviously every player has a price.

But the cut Benfica would get from any fee would mean the Reds would surely only be tempted by an enormous bid.

I’m talking the first eight figure bid ever for the Dons – of at least £10 million to £15m.

The structure of the sell-on clause means there can be no fee of the level of the £3m Bologna paid for Lewis Ferguson last summer.

It has to be eight figures to make it worthwhile to Aberdeen to lose their leading scorer.

Aberdeen’s Luis ‘Duk’ Lopes celebrates scoring to make it 1-0 against Kilmarnock with teammate Bojan Miovski. Image: SNS

Another key factor is that Aberdeen are in a strong position to finish third in the Premiership this season.

That could bring a multi-million Euro prize payment and group stage action until mid December – should Celtic or Rangers win the Scottish Cup.

Should either of the Glasgow two lift the cup the club finishing third would go into the Europa League group stage play-offs.

That is just one two-legged tie away from the lucrative group stages and potential glamour ties.

Aberdeen manager Barry Robson hugs Luis ‘Duk’ Lopes after the two goal hero is substituted late on in the 3-0 defeat of Hearts. Image: Shutterstock

The team that finishes fifth in each of Europe’s big five leagues qualify automatically for the Europa League group stages.

As things stand those teams are Tottenham (England), Inter Milan (Italy), Real Betis (Spain), SC Freiburg (Germany) and Lille (France).

Should Aberdeen finish third they would be one round away from potentially landing one of those clubs in the Europa League groups.

Even if they lose the play-off the Reds would drop straight into the Europa Conference League group stage which guarantees Euro action until December 14.

Aberdeen’s Luis ‘Duk’ Lopes with the cinch SPFL Premiership Player of the Month award for March. Image: SPFL

The lure of playing in Europe until Christmas would surely be another incentive for Duk to, as he says he aims to, remain at Pittodrie for next season.

Continental action, potentially against a Euro big gun, would give Duk an even bigger platform to shine on.

If he hits the goal trail in Europe more, bigger clubs, from across England and Europe will take notice of the striker.

That will only further increase Duk’s profile and transfer value.

Aberdeen’s philosophy is to buy exciting talent, develop them, have them star for a season or two in the first team, then sell on at a substantial profit.

Duk will inevitably be sold by Aberdeen.

However the noise coming from Duk, his advisor and the club suggest it will unlikely be this summer.

With another two years left on his contract it is more likely Duk will exit in summer 2024 – ideally when he is worth even more after another prolific season.

So Aberdeen fans don’t panic. You could enjoy Duk’s exciting talent for another year.

Aberdeen in form goal hero Duk during the 1-0 defeat of Ross County. Image: Shutterstock

Referees need to show more courage

I fear for the future of football if Graeme Shinnie winning the ball in a 50-50 challenge constitutes a red card.

Shinnie clearly won the ball in the tackle with Ross County’s Jack Baldwin in the 1-0 win in Dingwall.

The Dons captain’s momentum then took him into Baldwin.

However Baldwin’s challenge also took the Ross County defender into Shinnie.

Graeme Shinnie’s challenge on Jack Baldwin which resulted in a red card. Image: SNS

It was a robust 50-50 that both players were right to go into. And they did, fairly.

Referee Euan Anderson was only a few yards away from the tackle and had a clear view of what happened in real time.

He didn’t sanction Shinnie for the tackle.

It was only when VAR intervened that he eventually showed a red.

When Anderson made the rectangle sign with his hands to indicate he would go to the monitor there seemed an inevitability a red would be shown.

Very rarely does a referee stick with the original decision when VAR becomes involved.

Referees need to be braver and stand by the courage of their convictions if a ‘clear and obvious error’ has not been made.

There was no clear and obvious error in the initial decision on Shinnie’s challenge.

If it was not a red card in real time don’t be swayed by freeze frames and slow motion replays.

VAR was used three times in Dingwall – and was wrong twice.

It also led to Bojan Miovski’s goal being chalked off for offside against Duk.

However Duk was in line with the last defender so the goal, which would have put the Dons 2-0 ahead, should have stood.

The camera angle available to make that offside decision on such a tight margin was simply not good enough.

Aberdeen skipper Graeme Shinnie is sent off against Ross County. Image: Shutterstock

Dons can deliver a magnificent seven

Aberdeen are more than capable of delivering a seventh straight win by overcoming Rangers at Pittodrie on Sunday.

The Ibrox club are leaking goals with seven conceded in their previous four Premiership games.

In contrast the Reds are rock solid at the back with five clean sheets in six matches.

Aberdeen’s Angus MacDonald, Mattie Pollock and Liam Scales (L-R) after the 1-0 win at Ross County. Image: SNS

Aberdeen are also dangerous in attack. It is a combination that can beat Rangers.

Furthermore there is a steeliness about the Reds under Barry Robson which means if they are in a winning position they won’t blow it.

Unlike three months ago. Throwing away a 2-1 lead against Rangers to lose 3-2 in December was the start of the slide under former boss Jim Goodwin.