DEREK McInnes has started his major overhaul of Aberdeen’s playing staff by clearing out nine players in the summer.
Rory Fallon, Rob Milsom, Gavin Rae, Isaac Osbourne, Gary Naysmith, Mitch Megginson and back-up goalkeeper Dan Twardzik have been told their contracts will not be renewed while experienced midfielder Stephen Hughes and youngster Jordon Brown have been told they are free to find other clubs.
Northern Ireland international Josh Magennis has been offered a new one-year deal and the striker is expected to sign on again later this week. McInnes would have liked to keep the versatile Osbourne but the former England Under-21 cap wants to move back to England.
However, the new manager is determined to make major changes despite the fact predecessor Craig Brown reckoned only minor tinkering was needed when he retired. The limitations of the budget at a club still over £10 million in the red means McInnes will be able to add fewer bodies to the squad than he is letting go.
But he is convinced that, along with the quality of youngsters already at the club, he will add the calibre needed to spark the Dons’ revival next season.
McInnes said: “It is one of the least enjoyable aspects of the job to tell players that they won’t be staying and I’d like to thank all of them for their contribution to the football club.
“Some of the decisions were tougher than others but each one is an excellent professional and we wish them all the very best in the future. But we decided the opportunity was there to bring in the players we want to freshen things up.
“The only way we can do that is by letting people go and getting replacements we have identified that can hopefully make an impact.
“What I will say is that it’s not a case of one in, one out as we are not in a position to sign as many new players as the ones that will be leaving.
“What we are trying to do is bring a freshness to the whole club for next season and that includes giving the promising young players at Aberdeen hope that they can feature more in the top team.
“In Isaac Osbourne’s case it was his decision to leave as he wants to be back down nearer his family in Birmingham and I can understand that.
“But we have offered Josh Magennis a new one-year deal that he is keen to get sorted out and I’m confident we can get that done soon.”