Aberdeen boss McInnes opens up on Wilson pursuit

James Wilson in action for Aberdeen during his loan spell last season.
James Wilson in action for Aberdeen during his loan spell last season.

Dons boss Derek McInnes has not ruled out an audacious permanent signing of former Manchester United striker James Wilson this summer.

The 23-year-old was on loan at Pittodrie last season and is now a free agent having been released by the Old Trafford club.

McInnes has been in regular contact with the former England Under-21 international.

The Dons boss accepts Wilson, once one of the hottest prospects in the English game, will have offers this summer.

However, McInnes confirmed Wilson has also not ruled out a permanent return to Pittodrie.

Wilson’s contract recently expired at the Premier League giants and United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opted not to initiate an extra one-year clause.

Securing Wilson would further beef up an attack strengthened by the signing of former Motherwell striker Curtis Main on a two-year deal.

McInnes said: “We have not ruled out James Wilson coming back here and James has not ruled us out.

“I spoke to James the other day. He is just back from holiday.

“James has said that he loved his time here at Aberdeen.

“And if he says he would really like to be here then we will see if there is a possibility.

“It is not too far down the line so it is not as if it is something that is imminent.”

During his loan spell at Pittodrie last season, Wilson made just 14 starts as he was also hindered by injuries.

He came off the bench a further 18 times and scored four goals.

The striker hit form in the Premiership post-split games and began to show signs of the ability that made him such a hot prospect in English football.

Wilson rose through the youth ranks at Manchester United and broke into the first team at the end of the 2013-14 season.

He made his Premier League debut for the club on May 6 2014, netting a double in a 3-1 win against Hull City.

The following season United boss Louis van Gaal signed Wilson on a new long-term deal until June 2019 with the option of an extra year. At the time van Gaal hailed Wilson as “one of the brightest young England prospects”.

However, his momentum was derailed by injury misfortune and Wilson would go on to make a total of 20 appearances, scoring four times for United.

He would spend loan spells at Brighton, Derby and Sheffield United before Aberdeen.

It is understood Wilson was on £30,000 per week at United and would have to take a vast reduction from that level.

But McInnes hopes his positive experience at the Dons last season can help engineer a deal to take him to Pittodrie and rebuild his career.

McInnes said: “James really enjoyed his time here, although it wasn’t all singing and all dancing.

“However, he showed in flashes, particularly towards the end of the season, how he could have an influence on our team.

“You look at the last three games, he set up two goals against Hearts (2-1 win) with assists.

“He could have scored a hat-trick against Celtic (3-0 loss) as he was very good in that game.

“I don’t mind players missing chances if they are there.

“He scored the winning goal at Hibs (2-1 win) in a very strong performance.

“James showed he can be an influence in our team.

“I am sure James will still have options, but we will continue to speak to him and his agent.

“We are looking at a number of options at the minute.”