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Aberdeen boss Barry Robson reveals why he raided the overseas transfer market this summer

The Dons were priced out of the English and Scottish transfer markets for the quality they were chasing, according to Robson.

Dons boss Barry Robson. Image: SNS
Dons boss Barry Robson. Image: SNS

Boss Barry Robson revealed he raided the overseas transfer market this summer because Aberdeen were priced out in England and Scotland.

Robson rebuilt his squad during the summer with 13 new players signed ahead of a campaign where the Dons will compete in the Europa Conference League.

Aberdeen kick-off their group stage campaign against 2022 Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany on Thursday.

The Dons’ board bankrolled a summer rebuild for a season where the Dons will face the demands of balancing Euro and domestic action.

Funds were made available for Robson to make a number of signings for six-figure transfer fees.

However, Robson revealed the Dons’ hunt for signings went global because players from Scotland and England are now too expensive.

Only three of Robson’s summer signings are Scottish – captain Graeme Shinnie, Nicky Devlin and keeper Ross Doohan.

Two players were secured from England: Leighton Clarkson on a permanent deal and Rhys Williams on a loan – both from Liverpool.

Republic of Ireland international Jamie McGrath was signed after he left English League One Wigan Athletic.

The other new additions are part of a foreign legion secured from across Europe and from as far afield as Australia.

Aberdeen’s Slobodan Rubezic in action against Celtic. Image: SNS.

Robson said: “You get priced out of England because it’s far too expensive, and it’s far too expensive in Scotland now, too.

“So you have to try to be bright with your recruitment and that’s what we’ve tried to be.

“The club’s fans also want to see an Aberdeen team, not a loan team.

“You can see a squad of Aberdeen players, not loan players.

“Loans are important, I get that. And we will still use the loan market, but I just like the look of us being an Aberdeen team.

“They are our players. They have their families here, they have got homes here.”

Aberdeen striker Ester Sokler in the 0-0 draw at Livingston. Image: Shutterstock.

Splashing out six-figure transfer fees

Aberdeen went to the other side of the world to land left-back Jimmy McGarry from Australian A-League champions Central Coast Mariners.

The Dons paid an undisclosed six-figure fee for New Zealand international McGarry.

And scouring Europe landed Richard Jensen (Górnik Zabrze, Poland), Ester Sokler (NK Radomlje, Slovenia) and Slobodan Rubežić (Novi Pazar, Serbia) on permanent deals.

Aberdeen still splashed the cash – with Rubezic costing around £200,000. Defender Jensen was signed for £400,000 and Sokler secured for a fee understood to be between £250,000 and £350,000.

Aberdeen’s Richard Jensen in action against St Mirren. Image: SNS.

Loan deals were completed for Or Dadia (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel) and Stefan Gartenmann (Midtjylland, Denmark).

Israeli international full-back Dadia has yet to feature in a competitive game for the Dons.

Or Dadia signs for Aberdeen. Image: Aberdeen FC.

Robson’s rebuilt squad have suffered a disappointing start to the season and have yet to win in the Premiership after five games.

They are languishing near the foot of the league table and have won just once in eight games in all competitions.

It is the worst possible preparation for a trip to German giants Frankfurt, who are unbeaten in seven games this season.

A 2-0 loss at Hearts condemned the Dons to a third straight defeat.

However, Robson is confident his players will click and deliver wins.

And he reckons that will ultimately rocket the value of the players he has signed.

Aberdeen manager Barry Robson during the defeat to Hibernian. Image: Shutterstock.

Aberdeen players worth a ‘fair few quid’

That philosophy of landing talented bargains from overseas and selling on for major profits after influencing the first team has already paid dividends.

Aberdeen bought Ylber Ramadani for £100,000 last season from Hungarian club MTK Budapest.

They sold Albanian international midfielder Ramadani to Italian Serie A club Lecce for a fee understood to be £1.2million this summer.

Strikers Bojan Miovski and Duk were also signed last summer for six-figure fees and have gained interest from clubs across Europe.

Miovski was secured from MTK Budapest for £535,000, with Duk arriving from Benfica for £400,000.

If either player were to exit in a future transfer window, it would secure a substantial profit for the Dons.

Aberdeen striker Bojan Miovski in actin in the 2-0 loss at Hearts. Image: SNS.

Robson said: “When you look through that squad.

“If they perform to how they can there are a lot of players that will be worth a bit of money, a fair few quid.

“The board have been great.

“When I sat down and explained to Dave (Cormack, chairman) and the board, I told them what I thought.

“I thought the right thing to do was to build a squad that was going to be here permanently.

“The model we work to is we need to build value in our squad.

“You can’t just go and take in 29 or 30-year-olds… with maybe an injury history but they are good quality players.

“We need to have players who are young, willing to learn and willing to improve. I want speed in the team and I want energy.

“So I needed to have players with that age and bulk to perform the way we need them to perform.”