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Aberdeen boss Barry Robson vows to ‘double up’ in every position with summer transfers

With European group stage action as well as domestic duties looming, Robson is determined to use the transfer window to deliver strength in depth.

Aberdeen manager Barry Robson
Aberdeen manager Barry Robson. Image: SNS.

Aberdeen boss Barry Robson has revealed he aims to “double up” in most positions to be strong enough for European group stage football.

The Dons will have at least eight Euro ties in the upcoming campaign alongside domestic responsibilities.

Robson accepts this will stretch his squad – so he aims to have strong back-up at his disposal for every role.

Dons boss Robson says he aims to deliver “real strength in depth”.

He has already secured seven signings and will continue to raid the transfer window to further bolster his squad.

Aberdeen are closing in on landing Serbian centre-back Slobodan Rubezic in a six-figure deal from FK Novi Pazar.

A move has also been made to secure Crystal Palace attacking midfielder Killian Phillips on a season-long deal.

Phillips has a year left on his Palace contract and a number of English Championship club are tracking the Republic of Ireland Under-21 international.

Killian Phillips in action for Crystal Palace
Killian Phillips of Crystal Palace U21s holds off Mathijas Tielemans of PSV Eindhoven U21s during the Premier League International Cup final at Selhurst Park in May. Image: Shutterstock.

If the Dons can push through a deal for Phillips, it is understood Robson still wants to land a further attacking midfielder.

Aberdeen lost out on a bid to sign Croatian midfielder Tonio Teklic, who recently joined Turkish side Trabzonspor.

Liam Scales remains transfer target

Robson also remains keen on signing Celtic centre-back Liam Scales, who had a successful loan period at Pittodrie last season.

Aberdeen may have to wait for clarity on Scales’ situation as new Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers is assessing his squad.

Robson accepts the Dons will not get everything their own way in the window but insists there is enough time left to get the right players signed.

Aberdeen FC's Liam Scales during a game against Ross County
Defender Liam Scales during the 1-0 defeat of Ross County whilst on loan at Aberdeen. Image: Shuttertock.

He said: “We are trying to double up on a lot of positions this season, because we know what is coming.

“We are trying to get real strength in depth.

“There is another six weeks to go in the window and we are not going to have everything our way and what we want right  now.

“We have a wee bit of time left to deal with that.”

Aberdeen manager Barry Robson (R) and coach Steve Agnew during the pre-season friendly against  Preston North End. Image: SNS.

‘The business we have done is good’

Robson has signed two right-backs in the summer transfer window, following the £2 million transfer of Ross McCrorie to Bristol City.

Nicky Devlin joined on a two-year deal following the expiration of his contract with Livingston, and Israeli international Or Dadia was secured on a season-long loan from Hapoel Be’er Shiva.

Aberdeen have an exclusive option to buy Dadia at the end of the 2023-24 campaign.

Dadia is contracted to the Israeli top-flight club until summer 2025, and it is understood the fee to land him permanently would be around £400,000.

New Aberdeen signing Or Dadia. Image: Aberdeen FC.

Midfielders Leighton Clarkson and Graeme Shinnie were both signed on permanent deals following successful loan spells last season.

Clarkson signed a four-year deal from Premier League Liverpool in a major coup for the Dons.

Shinnie penned a three-year contract following his exit from Wigan Athletic.

Slovenian striker Ester Sokler arrived in a 3300,000 transfer from NK Radomlje on a three-year deal, while Liverpool centre-back Rhys Williams was secured on a season-long loan from the Premier League giants.

Williams is currently sidelined with a back injury and has missed the previous two friendlies against Preston North End and Fraserburgh.

Keeper Ross Doohan also signed from Forest Green Rovers on a two-year contract.

Aberdeen’s Ester Sokler poses with the match ball after scoring four goals against Turriff United. Image: SNS.

Robson said: “When you see us middle to front, it’s very exciting and I think everyone will be very excited by that.

“I think the business we have done is good.”

Preparations for Premiership opener

Aberdeen will complete their pre-season preparations with a friendly at English League One Charlton Athletic on Saturday.

The Reds lost 2-0 to Championship Preston at the weekend.

Despite the defeat, Robson is confident his squad are on track for the season-opener against Livingston on Saturday, August 5.

Aberdeen’s Jonny Hayes (centre) is challenged by Preston’s Brad Potts (R) and Kian Taylor during Saturday’s pre-season friendly. Image: SNS

He said: “With the quality Preston have, they struck two worldie strikes in from 25 yards out – it’s not like they were cutting us open.

“We weren’t easy to play against.

“We were quick, fast and aggressive and on another day we would have easily got a couple of goals.

“The most important part for us was the speed we pressed at, the reaction time.

“Also how close we were and how we were all in contact with each other was all there.

“It was just tactically we got it wrong a wee bit. Just going at the wrong time.

“That’s just because we need football to work on that.

“We are building habits at the moment and the tactical side will come really heavily over the next 10 days.”