Jim Goodwin wants the majority of his Aberdeen rebuild completed before pre-season starts in mid-June – and insists top scorer Christian Ramirez WILL be part of his summer plans.
Speculation is rife over the Dons top scorer after his family returned to America for the summer and following the 31-year-old’s furious reaction at being substituted against Dundee last weekend.
But Goodwin is Adamant Ramirez has made no signal that he wants to end his time in Scotland a year early.
The Pittodrie boss said: “Christian is contracted to Aberdeen next season and has not made any statements to me or publicly about wanting to move back to America.
“I think his family has gone home but that was always planned for the summer.
“I will have more discussions with players in the next couple of weeks but as far as I’m aware Christian Ramirez is committed to Aberdeen.
“Until I hear different then that’s what we will plan for.”
Goodwin is targeting at least five new players as he looks to move on from the club’s worst season in a decade.
RecordSport revealed Ipswich Town goalkeeper Vaclav Hladky is on his radar along with Wolves midfielder Connor Ronan and Wigan playmaker Jamie McGrath – all three of whom the manager worked with at St Mirren – as well as Buddies’ defender Charles Dunne.
Goodwin won’t confirm the identity of his targets. But the Dons boss did admit he wants moves sewn up asap and when asked about Hladky, who hasn’t featured for Ipswich since December, he said: “I’ve got a lot of admiration for Vaclav.
“You talk about strength of character, and Vaclav has certainly got that. He was a really good player with St Mirren. He went down to Salford, did particularly well and earned the right to get a decent move to Ipswich.
“Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out for him.
“We are looking at a number of players in every position.
“I would always prefer to get things done as soon as possible. The first moment I arrived here I had a good meeting with the director of football Steven Gunn, the head of recruitment Darren Mowbray and put a plan in place.
“We spoke about the strategy and I gave them the profiles of the player I’m looking for and there’s been ongoing negotiations with players and representatives in the last few weeks.
“When you are identifying good players they tend to have other options. Those discussions don’t tend to be completed as quickly as you like. But we have identified some really good players and I would like to have everybody available to me when we come back for the first day of pre-season. We will be back the middle of June.
“One or two may take a little bit longer than what we’d like.
“It’s very simple in terms of the profile of player I’m looking for. I want good athletes. The modern-day game has moved on dramatically.
“There’s no getting away from the fact that the majority of the squad were the wrong side of 30.
“It’s okay to have a few over 30, but you need to get that mix right in the middle part. We don’t have enough players in the squad between 24 and 28.
“We’ve got some great young players coming through. Although it has been a very disappointing season for the club, there have been some rays of light to come out of it.
“The positives have definitely got to be the likes of Calvin Ramsay and Connor Barron and one or two of the other younger ones who have featured this season and done extremely well.
“I want hard-working players who are willing to learn and willing to listen.
“Ambitious: you need to be signing players who want to come here and do well for Aberdeen for two or three seasons but also have ambitions of kicking on to bigger and better things, if that’s possible.
“That’s pretty much the kind of profile of player that I’ll be looking for.”
Matty Kennedy has returned to training this week but is unlikely to be fit for the trip to face Hibs tomorrow.
It’s a tussle which many would have been expecting to be for European spots rather than the grim reality of a push for seventh at best.
Goodwin insists the pressure is NOT off his side though.
He said: “We’re not mathematically safe so there’s no point thinking feet up and let’s enjoy the afternoon.
“We still want to finish as high up the table as we can, we spoke recently about the prize money there and every place is worth money to the club.
“As a group of staff and players we owe it to ourselves to try and finish the season in as positive a manner as possible.
“I’ll be picking the strongest eleven available to me on Saturday, and we’ll be trying to win the game.
“It’s fair to say both teams have underachieved this season and will both be looking to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“Certainly from our point of view we have a lot of hard work ahead of us, we have a lot of recruitment to do.
“We need to freshen things up and that is going to be the main objective for us and no doubt Hibs and other teams out there as well.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.