Joe Harper: Kenny McLean deal is ‘win-win’ for Dons

Kenny McLean in action for Aberdeen

Pittodrie legend Joe Harper today claimed Kenny McLean’s move to Norwich was “win-win” for Dons.

Harper also praised McLean for not signing a pre-contract deal that would have seen him move for free in the summer.

McLean had indicated earlier this season he would not agree new terms with the Dons and would move on.

He had been free to talk to any interested clubs since the transfer window opened on January 1.

The Reds had rejected a £300,000 bid for the midfielder from Premiership rivals Rangers during last year’s summer transfer window.

Harper said: “It is a good win-win deal for Aberdeen as they will get a transfer fee and the services of a player who was going to be leaving at the end of the season anyway.

“McLean deserves real credit as he could easily have signed a pre-contract and Aberdeen will have got nothing.

“It initially looked like he would go to Rangers as they made a bid for him last summer, but he has shown real ambition by going to England.”

Dons boss Derek McInnes will use the transfer fee to strengthen his squad in January with Hibs midfielder Dylan McGeouch, who is out of contract in the summer, a target.

McInnes is also understood to be weighing up a potential move for Motherwell’s Chris Cadden, who has 18 months left on his deal.

McLean signed for the Dons in January 2015 in a £300,000 move from St Mirren.

It was the first time Dons boss Derek McInnes had paid a transfer fee for a player.

McLean starred for the Reds in the 4-1 Scottish Cup fourth-round win over St Mirren before travelling to Norwich to complete the move.

Aberdeen’s reward for the cup win is a fifth-round clash against Dundee United at Pittodrie on February 10 or 11.

Harper said: “McLean moving to Norwich will also boost his chances at international level with Scotland.

“It is an ambitious move from the midfielder and if he helps Norwich get to the Premier League his profile will rocket.

“I am sure he can do well in the English Championship, which is a very tough league.

“I have no doubt his wages will increase considerably with Norwich, but this is an aspirational move as he clearly wants to test himself.

“McLean has backed himself to perform in England.”

The midfielder will return back from the Canaries on loan until the end of the season as part of the deal.

Harper insists there will be no loss of focus while performing for the Dons.

“McLean has given his all and that will not change just because he is at Norwich,” he said.

“He will still go fully committed into challenges and will give everything for Aberdeen.”