Dons boss fight­ing to keep stars at the club

Suit­ors gather

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JAMIE DURENT

Derek McInnes has not given up on Gary Mack­aySteven sign­ing a new deal with Ab­erdeen, de­spite in­ter­est from New York City.

The Dons re­ceived no­ti­fi­ca­tion on Wed­nes­day evening from the MLS side that they wanted to speak to Mackay-Steven, who is out of con­tract at the end of the sea­son, about a deal.

Prior to suf­fer­ing a head in­jury in the Bet­fred Cup fi­nal de­feat by Celtic last month, Mackay-Steven had been in a flour­ish­ing run of form, bag­ging six goals and earn­ing him­self a re­call to the Scot­land squad.

McInnes hopes the winger does not for­get the plat­form the Dons have given him to re­vi­talise his ca­reer and has re­ceived as­sur­ances that stay­ing at Pit­to­drie is on the ta­ble.

He said: “We got an email on Wed­nes­day night from New York City with a no­ti­fi­ca­tion they in­tended to speak to Gary’s repre- sen­ta­tives about a con­tract for next sea­son.

“We said that was fine, he’s well within his rights.

“We spoke to Gary’s agent on Wed­nes­day and Gary him­self yes­ter­day, who said he was only made aware of it in the morn­ing.

“I think he was still in a bit of sur­prise. I just asked him if we were still an op­tion – there’s no point in me wast­ing my time in spin­ning it out longer than we have to.

“But he said he sees the ben­e­fit of stay­ing here and while he will have op­tions, this is the first one. “We’re still very much in con­sid­er­a­tion. “All I’ve said to him is what we gave him, in terms of be­ing a key player again and be­ing back in in­ter­na­tional setup.

“He’s clearly happy. For any player, be­ing happy at their work can help with their per­for­mances. For cre­ative play­ers, be­ing on song is in­di­ca­tion that they’re happy.

“My job is to show him why stay­ing with us is the right thing.

“Hope­fully he sees the ben­e­fit of it. He’s a pop­u­lar boy with ev­ery­one at the club.”

Mackay-Steven ar­rived from Celtic in the sum­mer of 2017 after strug­gling for game time dur­ing his first sea­son un­der Bren­dan Rodgers.

The 28-year-old has stepped on since then and had ar­guably been the club’s best player this sea­son prior to his in­jury.

The for­mer Ross County and Dundee United man is out with the Dons at their Dubai base this week and is in con­tention to re­turn against Sten­house­muir in the Scot­tish Cup next week­end.

He has not fea­tured since the head knock sus­tained against the Hoops at Ham­p­den on De­cem­ber 2.

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