Ylber Ramadani: What Aberdeen fans can expect from new signing who will add midfield presence
Aberdeen have a big summer ahead of them with Jim Goodwin set for an overhaul of the club’s squad.
Andy Considine has left, as have Funso Ojo and Dylan McGeouch, and the first player through the door is Albanian international Ylber Ramadani. His signing on a three-year deal from MTK Budapest was confirmed on Wednesday.
The club have been wanting to cast their net wider, broadening horizons, with regards to recruitment. It was a decision made prior to the arrival of Jim Goodwin.
The Irishman said: “It's very easy to sign players from teams that you play against in your own league. I'm not saying we won't do that because sometimes it's worthwhile. But we have to be willing to go into Europe and South America. Ireland has been great for me too at St Mirren – there's no doubt about that.”
Where he will fit in
The Dons have gone into Hungary to recruit Ramdani. The midfielder is coming off the back of a 31-game campaign for MTK Budapest in the Hungarian top flight. Despite three wins from the last four, they couldn’t avoid relegation. The 26-year-old, who was born in Germany and represented Kosovo at youth level, is in the Albania squad for their Nations League triple header, coming off the bench in the first against Iceland.
Goodwin has outlined how he sees his new signing fitting into his preferred 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 systems, noting his ability to play “as a holding midfielder or as a more advanced box-to-box midfielder”.
For MTK, Ramadani was often in a midfield two in a 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 and he will provide the Dons with a presence and combativeness in the centre of the park.
He was fifth in the Hungarian top-flight for defensive duels with a success rate of nearly 60 per cent. Out of possession he is keen to engage and press opponents and adept at wrapping his foot around from behind to win the ball without committing a foul.
When the opposition have the ball wide he will look to fall back and help out defensively, placing himself just inside or around the box to help cut out crosses or pick up on second balls.
Ramadani is strong and can use his body well but he isn't the quickest over ground or with the ball at his feet.
At the base of the midfield, he will look to get on the ball and is happy to do so facing his own goal, preferring to move the ball laterally but equally comfortable playing one-twos to start counter-attacks or striding forward with the ball.
Improvement may be required under pressure, however. In MTK's final game of the season against Debreceni, he was guilty of giving the ball away when pressed or required to get the ball out of his feet and then a sharp pass.
Ramadani is unlikely to be a threat from open play or set up too many opportunities for team-mates. However, he is being brought in as someone with international experience, a calm head, who will give Aberdeen and Jim Goodwin's side a bit of solidity at the base of midfield, providing others with a platform to express themselves further up the pitch, namely Connor Barron.
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