Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack won’t rule out selling prize assets like Lewis Ferguson, Scott McKenna and Sam Cosgrove next month but he insists they will only be allowed to leave on the Pittodrie club’s terms.
McKenna has already been the subject of several failed bids from the likes of Celtic, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest in the recent past, while manager Derek McInnes has voiced fears that Ferguson and Cosgrove will be targeted in January.
English Championship sides Stoke City and Middlesbrough have already been credited with an interest in striker Cosgrove, who cost just £25,000 when he signed from Carlisle United and has already bagged 19 goals this season. He has notched 40 in the past 15 months.
Speaking after last night’s agm – when Cormack replaced a tearful Stewart Milne, who had spent 21 years in the role – the Atlanta-based Aberdonian made it clear none of the Dons’ top players will be sold on the cheap.
“We are under no pressure to sell anyone and we’ll only do that on our terms” was Cormack’s reassuring claim. “It doesn’t matter what player it is, we don’t need to sell.
“Obviously, if there is a substantial return on a player and it makes sense for us then obviously we would consider it but we would only do that after speaking to Derek and it makes sense for him, with his ins and outs for the window.
“We are all human beings, players have contracts and like in the case of Scott McKenna there has been interest but not to the level we wanted. Some clubs have felt like it’s just little Aberdeen so they will just accept a tiny wee offer but that’s not the case.
“Our goal is to bring through a conveyor belt of players which we can, at the right time for us, monetise. That is the aim, but we will only sell players when the time is right for us.
“We made the investment in Cormack Park to get to that stage, that’s part of what we’re doing.”
Cormack, inset, has already made a major impact at the club even before taking over as chairman by raising the £12.5 million needed for the construction of the training complex at Kingsford, named Cormack Park in his honour.
Now the task is to raise the £45m to construct the neighbouring new stadium but he is equally ambitious when it comes to on-field targets and after being a key figure in persuading manager McInnes to reject offers to move to Sunderland and Rangers he is undaunted by challenging the Old Firm.
He added: “Our aspiration is do the best we can do every season so nobody is going into any season believing we can’t win all the trophies. The reality is that a wage differential exists but we are focused on punching above our weight. Had the league been based on away results last season we would have won the league.”
Meanwhile, McInnes confirmed one person he expects to leave next month is midfielder Stephen Gleeson, who has made just eight starts since joining Aberdeen from Ipswich Town last year.
Gleeson is fully fit again but has only played one minute of top-team football this season after coming on as a last-minute substitute in the 3-0 win at Fir Park in October.
McInnes said: “Stephen will be given encouragement to move on in January. He is back training and has been injured since the start of pre-season.
“The ideal window to move him to get regular football would have been July and August but it wasn’t possible. From Stephen’s personal point of view he would like to find a club down south in January.”