Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes insists this summer will not be his biggest rebuild because he has already carried out more extensive overhauls at Pittodrie.
It will be a hectic summer transfer window as the manager looks to replace seven players who exited following a campaign where the Reds finished outside the top three for the first time since 2013.
That figure could rise to eight, as the future of Scotland international winger Gary Mackay-Steven remains in limbo.
McInnes is keen to retain the winger, but the Scotland international’s contract expires on June 30 and he has yet to make a decision on his future.
MLS side New York City are interested in GMS.
McInnes accepts he faces a busy summer, but insists this is far from new territory as he has faced even bigger rebuilds before.
He said: “People have said this summer is the biggest rebuild because we are losing big characters, in particular Graeme Shinnie.
“However, we have had big rebuilding jobs in previous seasons here.
“I had to put together a squad in my first year and there was also a rebuilding job after the Scottish Cup final (2-1 loss to Celtic) in 2017.
“I had five players from my starting line-up leave after that – Pawlett, Taylor, McGinn, Hayes and Jack – and everybody said then that was the end of us.
“Last summer it was the same again as we lost four or five important players including Kenny McLean, Anthony O’Connor and Ryan Christie.
“However, we were still competitive this season, as we still went to a cup final and lost twice to Celtic in the cups, so this is not new to me.
“Rebuilding to put together a squad that can compete is something we have done before.
“We will do exactly the same again this summer and be ready to go again for next season.”
Aberdeen have lost influential skipper Shinnie as the Scotland international has penned a three-year contract with Derby County.
The loan deals for Max Lowe (Derby), James Wilson (Manchester United), Dom Ball (Rotherham), Greg Stewart (Birmingham) and Tommie Hoban (Watford) have expired.
Defender Greg Halford has also left Pittodrie following the end of a short-term contract.
McInnes arguably faced a more serious exodus at the end of the 2016-17 season, when the Reds lost both domestic cup finals.
That summer they lost Jonny Hayes to Celtic in a £1.2 million deal and captain Ryan Jack to rivals Rangers under freedom of contract.
Niall McGinn rejected a new contract offer to sign for South Korean club Gwangju, defender Ash Taylor left for Northampton Town and Ryan Christie returned to Celtic after a loan deal.
Christie would come back for another loan spell and McGinn would also pitch up at Pittodrie again, in January 2018 on a three-and-a-half-year deal.
Taylor could yet return as, following his release from Northampton Town, the centre-back was recently in Aberdeen for talks.
During the summer of 2017, striker Jayden Stockley was sold to Exeter Town while Peter Pawlett (MK Dons) and Miles Storey (Partick Thistle) also left.
Having lost 3-0 to Motherwell in the Scottish Cup semi-final in May 2018, McInnes admitted his recruitment in the previous two windows left them short of options for the semi, after bans for Shinnie, McLean and Shay Logan. After that semi, he said: “Where I take responsibility is with the recruitment in both windows. Sometimes you don’t know until you know and today smacked me between the eyes that the strength of the squad wasn’t good enough.”
McInnes could not afford a repeat last summer – nor can he afford the same during this transfer window.
In the recent campaign Aberdeen finished fourth in the Premiership but secured European qualification.
There was regression in the league but McInnes believes he successfully strengthened last summer only to be dogged by injury.
He said: “With that first team of the season in the two ties against Burnley in the Europa League, we had everyone fit.
“I thought we looked a proper team then. I thought to myself, this is the best squad we have had, but every time I went to pick a team after that there were about four or five out at any given time.”
McInnes’ rebuilding job is already under way as Motherwell striker Curtis Main is expected to be confirmed as a Pittodrie addition next month, having agreed a two-year deal.
Taylor has held talks and McInnes has also opened up dialogue with Ball in a bid to secure the versatile defender-midfielder on a permanent contract.
Ball’s deal with Rotherham is set to expire and he will not be offered a new contract.
McInnes also wants to secure Lowe on loan again next season, but will have to wait until late in the summer for Derby to make a decision on the left-back.
Striker Wilson will also be a free agent as Manchester United have not taken up the option of the clause of an extra year in his contract.
McInnes is keen to take Wilson to Pittodrie for next season, after he showed positive form in the post-split games.
However, Wilson was reportedly on £30,000 per week at Old Trafford and would have to take a massive reduction in wages at Aberdeen. It is understood Wilson is open to the possibility of a Pittodrie return.
McInnes had also been keen on securing attacker Stewart, but he looks set to join Rangers.
McInnes said: “We’d like to get some signings in before we come back for pre-season and I’m pretty sure we will.”