Jim Goodwin hopes to fight off interest in another of his young Aberdeen stars by handing Connor Barron a new deal. The Dons boss has already been forced to relinquish Calvin Ramsay after owner Dave Cormack was presented with an £8million offer from Liverpool he could not refuse.
But Goodwin fears he may also have to wave goodbye to Ramsay’s fellow Scotland Under-21 internationalist Barron with Celtic and Italian pair Bologna and Sassuolo tracking the teenager. The Irishman insists the young full-back deserves a pay bump to match his burgeoning potential.
But he also hopes it might persuade his suitors to look elsewhere. Goody said: “We’ve got a number of good young players in our squad whose contracts we want to extend. Connor Barron is one of them. He had a terrific second half of the season, one of the nominees for player of the year. He’s the type of player you want to be building teams around him because of his age.
“Based on what he did in the second half of the campaign there is always going to be speculation. Connor is a terrific young talent, he’s still got a hell of a lot of development to do. I spoke to him last week and I think Aberdeen, at the moment, is the best place for him to further his development of him.
“We’d love to get Connor on a better contract, he deserves to be rewarded, he deserves a better financial contract. At the same time we need to protect our assets as well. We want Connor to stay.
“He’s got two years left (on his current deal) so there is no pressure on anybody at the moment but we just want Connor to know how important we think he is and how much we want him around.”
While the Pittodrie gaffer is bracing himself for bids for Barron, he insists he’s heard nothing after it was claimed Millwall had made a £1.5million move for midfielder Lewis Ferguson. Confirming the Scotland ace would report for pre-season duty ahead of Monday’s flight to their Spanish pre-season camp, Goodwin added: “I’m not aware of any bid from Millwall at the moment.
“I’m not private to those conversations. I had a good chance with Lewis and said the same thing I said about Calvin Ramsey. Everybody has a valuation-if it’s met, we’ll have that discussion with the player and his representatives of him. Until that time comes, I’ll be looking forward to having Lewis Ferguson as part of our squad.”
Goodwin has already welcomed American hitman Christian Ramirez back from his sun-shine break back home in the States. And he says the bronzed bomber is ready to shine for the Reds this season.
He said: “Christian has come back looking great, he’s got a hell of a suntan so the weather in California must have been great. He’s back involved and looks as though he’s recharged the batteries and is ready to go.
“The good thing about the signings we’ve made is that we have competition all over the pitch now. We have that up front and needed it because last season Christian was the only recognized striker for long parts of the season.
“It’s no coincidence that he ran out of steam. It will be good once we have all of our business done, we will be in a very strong position. We will have strength and quality in there.”
Goodwin has also enjoyed taking a closer look at new loan recruit Liam Scales. The Celtic defender made the most of his Hoops appearance as a left-back last term but his Dons manager plans to use the former Shamrock Rovers stopper more centrally at Pittodrie.
He said: “I tried to get Liam Scales when I was at St Mirren but unfortunately the bid wasn’t accepted by Shamrock Rovers at the time. Then about nine months later Celtic had a bid accepted for him.
“I always saw him as a left-sided center back, I’ve seen him play as part of a three and left of a four. But personally I prefer him left center half and for me he will be a center back.”
Meanwhile, Aberdeen remain in talks with Ipswich over Goodwin’s former Saints No.1 Vaclav Hladky. The Dons were hoping to land the Czech stopper on a free transfer but the Tractor Boys are holding out for a £100,000 fee.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.