Chairman Stewart Milne today confirmed the Pittodrie board will back Derek McInnes’ bid to strengthen his squad in the January transfer window.
However, he also warned the Aberdeen manager will have to stick to a budget as there is not a “bag of money” he can suddenly dip into.
Talking to the Evening Express following the club’s 115th AGM at Pittodrie, Milne confirmed McInnes’ budget has risen in each of the last five years he has been at the club.
While McInnes aims to add new faces in next month’s window, the Dons boss could also be faced with the potential exit of Scotland international defender Scott McKenna.
Milne confirmed the Dons expect more interest in the transfer window for the centre-back having rejected two multi million bid.
Bids of £7milion from Championship club Aston Villa and £3.5m from Celtic were rejected by the Dons this summer.
McInnes hopes one of Scotland’s hottest young stars can remain at Pittodrie beyond next month’s window but a massive bid could yet lure the 22-year-old away.
Milne insists they have not put a figure on how much it would take to secure McKenna, who is now a mainstay in the Scotland squad.
However, he did confirm that when McKenna eventually moves on a “substantial” chunk of the transfer fee would be re-invested back into McInnes’ squad, but over a period of time.
Milne said: “We will do all we can to help Derek bring about the changes he wants to when the window comes. We have always worked with Derek on the basis that in the lead up to the window we will discuss with him any plans that he would like to implement.
“But Derek appreciates, and I think the fans by and large appreciate, that there is not a bag of money there that we can suddenly dip into and just find funds. There is a budget we have to work to.
“The onus is on the board to find ways to continually grow that budget.
“I think we have by and large delivered on that over the last five years.
“We have been able to grow the budget every year. In that period it has grown substantially.”
One route to increasing that budget was the AberDNA fans’ funding scheme which was launched in March, with all revenue raised redirected into strengthening the footballing department.
So far 6,500 supporters have signed up and Milne accepts it’s up to the board, just as much as McInnes and his squad, to keep ahead of their rivals.
He said: “We also have to recognise the additional pressures Derek is under in that all the other teams around us are getting stronger.
“We have to find ways and means of not just keeping up with them but trying to keep ahead of them. We have succeeded in that for the last four-and-a-half years or so.
“However, it is getting increasingly more challenging.”
One potential source of revenue could be the transfer of defender McKenna, who is contracted until summer 2023.
As well as knocking back bids from Aston Villa and Celtic, Swansea City also enquired about McKenna during the summer transfer window.
Premier League Wolves have also sent a scout to watch McKenna in action with a view to launching a potential move.
When asked If he anticipated more interest in McKenna in January and whether the Dons have put a figure on what it would take to land the defender, Milne said: “We would never put a figure on.
“We would be surprised if there wasn’t some serious interest in January.
“Maybe some of the clubs are thinking it is next summer that is the right time to make a move.
“We will just have to wait and see what transpires.”
McInnes is keen to keep McKenna for at least the rest of this season, but if the defender is sold would the majority of the transfer fee go back into the squad?
Milne said: “A substantial part of that would be made available to invest in the football operation but over a period of time.
“We have operated the club on a very tight leash over the last four, five years.
“The club is growing and we need to build up the investment that is going to be required to deliver phase two (of Kingsford stadium and training complex).
“But we would definitely plan that a substantial part of that would go in as an investment in football.”
Meanwhile, boss McInnes confirmed he attempted to keep striker Adam Rooney in the summer, but the player, now at English non-league Salford City, “wanted to leave”. He also said the Dons have yet to spend the fee they received for the player.
Chairman Milne oversaw the Dons AGM in front of 84 shareholders at Pittodrie that lasted one hour 16 minutes.
Financial statements for the year ending June 30 were passed unanimously with no dissenting show of hands.
Last month Aberdeen announced an £85,000 profit for the year to June as turnover and wages reached record highs.
The Dons registered a record £15.415m turnover and paid a record £8.564m in wages.
Chairman Milne and director Duncan Skinner were unanimously re-elected to the board having retired by rotation.
Commercial Director Rob Wicks, having joined the Dons in March this year, was unanimously appointment to the board.
It was confirmed that the £11.5million training facility, phase one of the Kingsford stadium complex, is scheduled to be completed and available by next summer.
Milne said: “When we get phase one delivered next summer that will be a massive milestone for the club.”