Dons boss eyes bargain buys

McGhee eyes former Rangers midfielder on free transfer

McGhee: New challenge

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New Aberdeen boss Mark McGhee is wasting no time in working the transfer market as he bids to rebuild the Dons in time for next season.

Motherwell's out-of contract midfielder Stephen Hughes is high on the former Fir Park manager's list, but he admits he faces competition from Hearts.

"Stephen knows I would like to bring him to Aberdeen," said McGhee said. "Scott Leitch (McGhee's assistant) is meeting with Stephen in Glasgow this weekend where we will talk to him about it further.

"Apparently he has been offered a very attractive contract from Hearts so there is competition for people like Stephen Hughes.

"I hope the fact that I am here is a factor for Stephen.

"But young players like Stephen Hughes, who have a young family, are entitled to try to provide for their family and therefore try to get the best deal possible.

"Working with me again won't be at the top of his list of reasons for choosing a club but if there comes a point where we are neck and neck with someone else then hopefully because it is me that will sway it."

Respect

The 52-year-old insists he will not make a habit of raiding his old club out of respect, coupled with his tight transfer budget.

"I'm not going to go back there and start pillaging Motherwell. I have too much respect for what they are trying to do. Stephen Hughes is a different kettle of fish as he is out of contract and available.

"There are some great players at Motherwell who are going to go on and become even better. But at this moment in time they would be out of our price range."

McGhee admits that funds are limited at Pittodrie this summer but he is content with what he has to work with and also suggests he may have to wait until the January transfer window to strike some deals.

"Any football manager would always want to spend more than he is given. If Real Madrid can pay £80million for a player then there appears to be no real limit to what can be spent.

"But in terms of competing with the other SPL clubs the budget is a good budget.

"This is a club that can attract players. I know in recent years it has been difficult to do that but I think if the team can make it into the Europa League and maybe find a bit of money we can attract a couple of better players at Christmas."

Aberdeen's director of football Willie Miller has said McGhee will be supported as he bids to bolster his new team.

"I think we already have an exciting squad but we have to solidify that. Mark knows what he has to work with in terms of brining in new players," Miller said.

"We have invested heavily in youth development in the last five years and we are beginning to see the fruits of that now. Mark is excited at working with the young talent but he also has some finance available to bring in new players as well."