Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes confirmed he will look for overseas talent when rebuilding his squad in the summer.
McInnes and his scouting network have already targeted top leagues in Europe for potential signings and attempted an audacious bid to sign striker Marc Cardona from Barcelona last summer.
Cardona starred for the Nou Camp giants’ B team last season and scored seven times for Barca B in the Spanish Segunda (second) Division.
It is understood Barcelona were keen on a move for Cardona to Pittodrie but the striker’s preference was to stay in Spain in a bid to fight his way into the first-team set-up at the Nou Camp. The striker, 23, was eventually sent on loan to La Liga side Eibar for this season, with a buy-out clause inserted in the deal.
Cardona has scored twice for Eibar including a goal in a 2-1 defeat to Champions League holders Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium this month.
On his summer signing campaign, McInnes said: “We will be looking overseas as well.
“We have been looking far afield and we now have a better handle on certain markets at the minute. We just have to bring in good players because that is what we all want to work with.”
Cardona has previously played for the Barcelona first team, having featured as a substitute in a 4-0 Champions League home defeat of Borussia Monchengladbach in 2015.
He also featured off the bench in a 1-1 draw at Hercules in the Copa del Rey earlier that season.
McInnes said: “He (Cardona) was a player we were keen on then.”
The Aberdeen manager has admitted this summer he will face the busiest transfer window in his six years at the club.
Six players are out of contract at the end of the season and a further five on loan are set to return to their parent clubs.
Derby County are closing in on the signing of Dons skipper Graeme Shinnie, who is out of contract at Pittodrie at the end of the season.
Championship outfit Derby are under a soft transfer embargo as the English Football League scrutinises their finances.
It is understood that will be lifted within the next 14 days to allow Rams boss Frank Lampard to push through the bid to sign Shinnie.
McInnes recently admitted it is now “extremely unlikely” Shinnie, who sustained a potentially season-ending ankle injury in the 1-0 win at Kilmarnock, would stay beyond the summer.
Also out of contract is winger Gary Mackay-Steven, a target for MLS side New York City.
Centre-back Mark Reynolds, on loan at Dundee United, has signed a pre-contract at Tannadice. Defender Greg Halford and keeper Tomas Cerny also have deals set to expire.
Defender Andy Considine’s deal expires but he has triggered a clause in his contract that will see him stay beyond the summer. Considine has confirmed he wants to stay and is in talks with the Dons to iron out the finer points and length of the deal.
Loan players Dom Ball (Rotherham), Max Lowe (Derby), James Wilson (Manchester United) and Greg Stewart (Birmingham City) are set to leave. Tommie Hoban (Watford) returned to his parent club having suffered a season-ending cruciate ligament injury.
McInnes has entered into talks with Ball, who is set to go out of contract at Rotherham, as to the prospect of signing for the Dons.
Aberdeen were keen on securing Stewart, also set to go out of contract at his parent club, but Rangers look to have won the race to sign the attacker.
Hoban is also out of contract with Watford in the summer and the Premier League club will oversee his rehabilitation, following surgery in early March.
McInnes is open to the possibility of a permanent move for Hoban next season when he is fully fit – and if he is a free agent.
This summer will also see the return from loan deals of winger Scott Wright (Dundee United), striker Bruce Anderson (Dunfermline) and Danny Rogers (St Mirren).
All three have first-team experience with Aberdeen in recent seasons.
McInnes’ squad have also been buoyed by the emergence this season of teenage Pittodrie youth system graduates Connor McLennan and Dean Campbell. But despite their breakthrough he also accepts the need to bring experience, and quality, to Pittodrie in what will be a busy summer transfer window.
The manager said: “There has been a lot of encouragement from the younger ones.
“No one loves more than me to see a younger one push on and develop.
“But there also has to be a recognition as well that we are trying to keep the level of performance and competitiveness at the club.”