Aberdeen believe smashing into the Uefa top 100 can send the value of their top stars rocketing into the millions.
Reaching the elite 100 in europe is one of the targets the dons set when unveiling the club’s new football philosophy and strategy.
Aberdeen Director of Football Operations Steven Gunn revealed that the top 100 target was set because clubs of a similar size in other countries such as Malmo (Sweden) have achieved it.
To achieve a Uefa 100 spot Gunn accepts Aberdeen must qualify for the
lucrative group stages and also impress at that level.
Aberdeen have failed to reach the group stages for six straight years.
Gunn is confident the Reds can reach the top 100.
He believes once the Dons are at that elite level the value of their players will rise significantly, which will further strengthen the club’s bid for future glory.
Gunn said: “The reason we picked that target is there were clubs within the Uefa top 100 that we were envious of. We thought if those clubs can break into that top 100, why can’t Aberdeen?
“Clubs in countries that are similar in size to Scotland so we are talking about Croatia, clubs in Scandinavia.
“Ones that have gone on to be competitive in group stages.
“Clubs that are not just getting to the group stage but being competitive or were punching above their weight.
“Clubs like Malmo for example.
“I know the landscape is different in each country with TV deals but we are trying to be creative in terms of what are the things that are going to give us the best opportunity to progress.
“We don’t have the luxury of some of the TV deals that are in like-sized countries around Europe. So how can we be cleverer than some of those clubs in terms of what we are doing?
“With the fan base that we have and the infrastructure with the training ground and plans for the new stadium.
“It was a line as to where we think the club should be.”
Gunn accepts it will take a few years to break into that hallowed land of the Uefa top 100.
Aberdeen will enter the Europa League at the first qualifying round stage on August 27.
Ties will be one-legged instead of the normal home and away format as Uefa attempt to cram in the rounds following the football shutdown due to Covid-19.
Gunn said: “This plan is more about a longer term plan.
“This year, with the individual legs, if you look at the games we played at home against the bigger clubs in third qualifying rounds previously, we’ve always been competitive.
“If we don’t get there this year it doesn’t mean our plan has failed. This is a three- to five-year plan and we’re building up coefficient points over a period of time.
“We’ve gone from 280th place in Europe to 177th now.
“We were a bit higher at the start of the campaign but the performance of other clubs in the Champions League and Europa League has knocked down a few places.
“However, we’ve made progress over the last six years. We didn’t jump from 280 to 177 in one year. It has taken time.”
The Dons were knocked out of the Europa League 4-0 on aggregate at the third qualifying round stage last season by HNK Rijeka of Croatia.
In 2015-16 the Dons dumped Rijeka out of Europe 5-2 on aggregate. Gunn highlights the Croatians as an example of how Euro success can ramp up the value of a squad.
He said: “The other thing about top 100 is player value increases substantially when they play at that level.
“Rijeka did well on that front and would sell players for a few hundred thousand Euros, but as soon as they got into the group stages their values went up to seven figures on a regular basis.”