GRAEME Shinnie, the Inverness Caledonian Thistle left-back, will become an Aberdeen player in the summer after it was announced yesterday that he has signed a pre-contract agreement at Pittodrie.
It emerged towards the end of last year that the 23-year-old had rejected a deal to extend his contract in the Highlands beyond its expiry in May, and he has been free to speak to other clubs as of 1 December 2014.
Aberdeen have long been admirers of Shinnie – a deal to take him to the Dons at the start of this season fell through when talks broke down – and manager Derek McInnes has finally got his man. Shinnie will join the current League Cup holders on a three-year contract when the next transfer window opens in June.
A statement on the Pittodrie club’s website last night said that Shinnie had chosen to join Aberdeen “despite offers from English Championship clubs”. The player had also been heavily linked with a move to Birmingham City given that his agent, Clive Hart, had overseen the deal that took Shinnie’s brother, Andrew, to St Andrew’s in 2013.
The Aberdeen statement added: “Everyone at Pittodrie is delighted to welcome Graeme to the club.”
Shinnie, an Aberdonian, signed for Caley in 2009 and has made over 140 appearances for the Highlanders. Last season the former Scotland under-21 international was selected for the PFA Scotland Team of the Year. Aberdeen’s need for a left-back has been obvious for some time. With Clark Robertson a long-term injury victim, centre-half Andrew Considine has been asked to fill the role. But, with centre backs Ash Taylor and Russell Anderson also now injured, Considine is required in the heart of the defence and, in Perth on Friday, McInnes asked Jonny Hayes – an effective attacker – to play at left-back.
Shinnie did not play in Inverness’s League Cup defeat at Rangers back in September, and it remains to be seen whether Aberdeen will try to pay a fee and get the player on board before Saturday’s semi-final against Dundee United at Hampden.