DUNDEE United manager Jackie McNamara says the sale of Johnny Russell to Derby County will allow him to put his own stamp on the Tannadice club as he prepares for his first full season in charge.
Russell completed his £700,000 move to the English Championship club last week and, while McNamara would have preferred to hold on to the striker, he recognised that his departure was “inevitable”.
McNamara has been promised some of the transfer fee by United chairman, Stephen Thompson to add to his squad this summer but has pledged to avoid any panic buys.
“We are working closely together trying to get the right ones in,” said McNamara. “That is the important message to everyone out there – we’re not just getting bodies in and panicking. We’re taking our time to make sure we bring in players who improve the squad, not just fill gaps. It will take a wee bit of time but it’s important we do it right.
“It gives me a chance to put my own imprint on the team. The players who come in will be my signings, my decisions, and the chairman will back me as best as he can, financially. He’s done that so far and hopefully that continues.
“I’m happy that the deal to sell Johnny was done early at least. Because, as much as he is a big loss, it was inevitable. Every club is in the same position with players going into the last year of their contracts. Most clubs in Scotland cannot allow players to get to the January transfer window and go for nothing.
“It has happened before and that’s not good. For me, personally, I would have loved to keep him for another year and to have worked with him. But that is for selfish reasons. For the good of the club, it is something that had to be done.”
McNamara has also lost striker Jon Daly to Rangers and midfielder Willo Flood to Aberdeen. So far, he has signed Paul Paton and Chris Erskine from his former club Partick Thistle, striker Brian Graham from Raith Rovers and Queen’s Park youngsters Andrew Robertson and Aidan Connolly.
“I hope there will be more coming in,” he added. “At the moment, we’ve still got a few targets we are trying to pursue. There will be new faces arriving but we have to make sure everything is right.”