Stewart Milne, left, and Derek McInnes.

Stewart Milne: New Aberdeen signings will be unveiled this week

Fuelled by Derek McInnes’ commitment to the club, chairman Stewart Milne today confirmed the Dons aim to step up their bid for success by unveiling new signings this week.

McInnes ended a period of uncertainty at Pittodrie by snubbing Championship Sunderland’s approaches to commit to Pittodrie until 2019.

The Pittodrie chief also hopes to persuade McInnes to extend his contract beyond 2019 with talks ongoing.

Yet the immediate priority is rebuilding a squad weakened by the exit of Niall McGinn, Jonny Hayes, Ryan Jack, Ash Taylor and Peter Pawlett .

With McInnes at the helm, Milne is determined to take Aberdeen “to the next level”.

He and the Pittodrie board are ready to put their money where their mouth is by giving their manager his biggest player budget yet.

Aberdeen return for pre-season training a week today and Milne is confident there will be new signings unveiled before then. He said: “I would be extremely surprised and disappointed if we did not have a few more in place ready for the start of the pre-season

“They will probably not be all the ones we want to get in.

“Some of them will also come in during pre-season but Derek is keen to have as many in right from the outset if he can.

“The Europa League begins soon and we came close to the group stages last year and we have gained a lot of experience in Europe over the last three years.

“Providing we can get the right players in over the coming weeks, Derek and I genuinely believe we can have a right go at it this year.”

Scotland international Shaun Maloney, who is a free agent as his contract with Hull has expired, is high on McInnes’ radar. Birmingham have also been approached regarding striker Greg Stewart on a potential loan deal.

Birmingham boss Harry Redknapp recently claimed the Scottish clubs tracking Stewart would be unable to afford the 27-year-old’s wages.

Yet Aberdeen’s financial clout has been bolstered by the recent “multi-million” investment from Dave Cormack through the acquisition of shares.

The Dons also landed £1.3 million from the transfer of winger Hayes to Celtic, with Ryan Christie arriving on loan for a season as part of the deal.

Milne confirmed there would be an increased war chest.

He said: “What we have been doing with Derek over the last four years on the back of the success he has delivered is to move the player budget ahead.

“That is what we set out to do again this year.

“We knew much earlier in the year the moves we wanted to make come the summer to rebuild the squad. Derek has basically set out the moves he wants to take place and we will look to how we can pull together the funds to enable that to happen.

“We have been able to demonstrate to Derek how we could fund the moves he wants to make.”

Once those new player additions are secured the next phase in Milne’s plans will focus on securing the club manager on an extended deal.

Milne said: “We had opened up discussions with Derek in May to renew his package.

“That ended up being shelved in the run-up to the Scottish Cup final. We agreed to pick it up again when he came back from holiday.”

McInnes held talks with Sunderland after the club came to a compensation agreement, believed to be £1m, last Wednesday.

However, he rejected the Black Cats approach.

Milne said: “Derek and Tony (Docherty, assistant manager) have made a commitment and shown how much this club means to them.

“We have made great progress over the last four years but Derek and Tony are determined to take us to the next level and try to deliver another trophy.

“We want to try to get to the Group stages in Europe.

“Without question with Rangers, Hearts, Hibs and St Johnstone, the top half of the league is going to be extremely competitive.

“We have to make sure we are right up there where we have been for the next four years.

“That (Sunderland) was a big opportunity for them but they have decided Aberdeen is where they want to be for the next couple of years.

“So we have to find a way of showing how much we all appreciate them making that decision.”

Such was Sunderland’s desire to secure McInnes the club’s chief executive Martin Bain flew out to Florida for discussions as soon as a compensation package was reached.

The Dons boss was on a family holiday in the States and will return to the Granite City early this week.

Milne is a realist and accepts if McInnes continues to deliver at Pittodrie other clubs will inevitably come calling.

“Some club is always going to be looking for a new manager,” he said.

“But I think I know Derek very well and we have kept very close over the last couple of weeks while all this speculation has been going on.

“I know how strong his feelings are to the club and how much it means to him.

“It was going to take something extremely attractive to him to move away from Aberdeen.

“Derek genuinely feels that he has unfinished business here that he wants to see through.

“On the day he leaves, he wants there to be more than one trophy on the table.

“With Derek and Tony having reaffirmed their commitment to the club we have to all get behind them and the team to power ahead.”

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