Derek McInnes today targeted the lucrative Europa League group stages after snubbing Sunderland to remain at the Dons until 2019.
And the Reds boss has vowed to bring in the top quality signings to achieve that target – with an increased transfer cash pot available.
In a mammoth boost to the Reds, wanted man McInnes and No2 Tony Docherty have committed their futures to Pittodrie
McInnes, pictured, who rejected a reported £900,000 a year wage at the Black Cats, insists there is unfinished business in his quest to bring success to Pittodrie.
He will be given a bumper summer transfer window war chest. It is a huge statement of intent from the manager and the Pittodrie board in the face of recent player exits and Rangers splashing £10 million in a bid to overtake the Reds in Scotland’s pecking order.
McInnes said: “I have ambitions in the game, and while there was interest from elsewhere, and I did talk to Sunderland, I feel there is so much still to be done here at Aberdeen.
“The recent investment in the club from Dave Cormack, who has rejoined the board, now puts us in an even healthier situation financially and that will allow us to be in a position to take the Club to the next stage.
“We have improved season on season and that is not something I’m planning on changing.”
Aberdeen confirmed on Wednesday they had “reluctantly” granted permission for McInnes and Docherty to speak to Sunderland, with the Championship side willing to pay Aberdeen £1m in compensation.
McInnes is still in Florida and Sunderland chief executive Martin Bain jetted out to the States for talks in a bid to secure him as replacement for Davie Moyes. However, Aberdeen had also been in constant dialogue and refused to give up the fight to retain the 45-year-old.
McInnes will have a bumper budget to strengthen in the summer.
He remains in Florida on holiday but has been working from the States on transfer targets.
He will now step up the process to replace departed stars like Jonny Hayes, Niall McGinn, Ryan Jack, Ash Taylor and Peter Pawlett.
“While we have lost players from last season, they will be replaced by signings of similar quality,” added McInnes.
“Our first challenge is to reach the group stages of the Europa League after coming so close in each of the last three seasons.”
McInnes’ drive to deliver success is not limited to the pitch. He is determined to see the Dons push through with a proposed £10m training facility at Kingsford for 2018.
He said: “Since the first day I arrived at Pittodrie, my biggest gripe has been the lack of training facilities.
“With progress at last on that front, it’s something I am keen to see through to its conclusion”.
“The delivery of these training and community facilities are vital, for helping retain our top players, attracting new players to the club, the development of our young players, and equally importantly enable us to play a far greater role in the wider community.
“I sincerely hope everyone across the region can pull together to help develop these facilities”.