McInnes keen to ramp up Ferguson deal discussions after Dubai camp

Aberdeen's Lewis Ferguson.
Aberdeen's Lewis Ferguson.

Dons boss Derek McInnes today confirmed he wants to secure midfielder Lewis Ferguson on an extended contract.

The 19-year-old revealed to the Evening Express in Dubai he would be happy to sign an extension to his deal, which runs until summer 2022.

Following Ferguson’s openness about extending his contract McInnes will look to step up talks when the Dons return from the United Arab Emirates next week.

McInnes said: “I spoke with Lewis and his agent at the start of December and said we would maybe catch up when we come back after the winter break.

“Lewis has been terrific and his level of performance for someone so young has been great.

“He has dealt with absolutely everything that has come his way.

“It is a bit like Sam Cosgrove where we rewarded him with a new contract in recognition of his performances.

“We would want to do something similar with Lewis.

“He is certainly deserving of that and if it is something he is open to, then great.”

Striker Cosgrove, who was awarded the Premiership Player of the Month for December out here in Dubai, recently signed a contract extension until summer 2022.

Following the emergence of Scotland international centre-back Scott McKenna, the Dons also quickly tied him to an extended deal until the end of the 2022/23 campaign.

Those new deals, and McKenna’s superb form, rocketed his value with Aberdeen rejecting bids of £7 million from Aston Villa and £3.5m from Celtic for the 22-year-old last summer.

McInnes recently admitted it would be naive not to expect more interest, and potentially bids, for McKenna in the January transfer window.

The Dons boss reckons McKenna will ultimately move to the English Premier League but hopes to retain the Scotland international until at least the end of this season.

He insists Ferguson and McKenna are very similar in their refreshing attitude, which is solely football focused and rejects any of the trappings that come with being a pro footballer at a top club.

McInnes said: “Lewis is very similar in terms of his traits to Scott McKenna. Both are very mature, very understated and go about their business very quietly.

“Both have a high level of performance, are highly motivated and have bags of determination.

“Neither of them are interested in ego or all the trappings of being a footballer.

“They both just get on with the job, which is really refreshing.

Aberdeen manager McInnes.

“Although they are in different positions, Lewis and Scott have a similar mindset and outlook.

“They both have that assurance about themselves. You see that in them.

“They are very similar in terms of their outlook on their career.”

A fundamental trait with both Ferguson and McKenna is that when they got their Aberdeen chance, they grabbed it.

McKenna received his breakthrough in a 1-0 Scottish Cup tie win at Motherwell in September 2017.

At the end of that debut season McKenna was leading out Scotland as captain for a 1-0 loss against Mexico at the Estadio Azteca.

Likewise Ferguson impressed McInnes so much during the pre-season he handed him a debut start in the opening game of the season.

He impressed in the Europa League second qualifying round first leg tie at Pittodrie, a 1-1 draw.

However, Ferguson really announced himself in the return leg with an audacious overhead kick goal at Turf Moor.

The teen also headed home the only goal in the 1-0 Betfred Cup semi-final defeat of Rangers at Hampden.

McInnes said: “Lewis has scored key goals in big moments and his goal got us to a final.

“He scored away in Burnley in the Europa League with an overhead kick.

“Lewis also scored last minute winners against Kilmarnock and Livingston.

“You are looking for someone to step up on these occasions and he has made a habit of doing that.

“For Lewis and our other midfielders, the demands to score even more goals should be there.

“The more winning goals he scores the better. Lewis is doing so well for someone so young.

“The best thing you can say about Lewis is that it looks like he has been playing here for years.

“It looks like he has about 200 games under his belt.

“The fact he has only played about 30 games in his senior career is testament to him and how natural it is that he feels at home here.”