Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes today backed new signing Ronald Hernandez to add an attacking threat.
McInnes swooped to secure Venezuelan international right-back Hernandez on transfer deadline day for an undisclosed fee from Norwegian top-flight outfit Stabæk Fotball.
Capped 15 times, Hernandez signed a four-and-a-half-year deal and goes straight into the squad to face Rangers at Ibrox today.
The 22-year-old started against Argentina in the Copa America quarter-final last summer and is also an Under-20 World Cup finalist.
Hernandez’ move was aided by the scouting system of Atlanta United, the American MLS side Aberdeen recently entered into a strategic partnership with.
Having coveted the defender for six months, McInnes believes it is a coup to secure him.
McInnes said: “He’s an attacking full-back, can play as a wing-back and plays like a winger in the opposition half.
“Fans will like Hernandez – he’s got a fair bit of speed about him and he’s an exciting player.
“We’ve paid a fee to get him here and part of the reason we do that is because of his age.
“We think he is a player that is going to improve. We get him into the team and hopefully he realises that full potential for us.
“He’s a young player but has done enough in the last couple of seasons to suggest he’s going the right way.
“He’s bright, eager, fully aware of British football. He’s a boy who’s eager to get started and make an impression
“It’s a coup for us to get him here.”
McInnes has bemoaned the lack of attacking edge in his squad recently. That was underlined in the recent 0-0 stalemate with St Mirren.
To address that he has added Hernandez, winger Matty Kennedy from St Johnstone and midfield play-maker Dylan McGeouch from Sunderland during the January transfer window.
He said: “It is trying to be more attacking as a team – bring more speed, bring more creativity. I think all three players will help the current players we have here in the squad to deliver that in the second half of the season.”
The Atlanta scouting network and recruitment system played a key role in identifying and landing Hernandez.
McInnes said: “He’s a player we’ve been monitoring for a while.
“He first came to our attention six months ago and we’ve kept tabs on him.
“It’s one of the leagues we’ve been concentrating on, the Norwegian league, and we thought it was going to be a challenge to get him out of there.
“It shows you where we are, with the collaboration with Atlanta, as he showed up on their recruitment system and jointly we’ve got to know him better.
“Atlanta have several Venezuelan players and that allowed us to make inroads in the possibility of bringing him to Aberdeen. We felt that to get him here we maybe needed that help with the Venezuelan contacts that Atlanta clearly have.
“We were telling them there are certain positions we are keen to address over the next wee while.
“He was on the same system as one of interest for them.
“I do think that having the ability to contact the agent direct and try to get things moving along helped in this. It is a great example of how this can work.
“We are going to see loads of benefits and that is part of the reason why this is one that we have been able to pull off.”
ICYMI: Earlier today we completed the signing of @RonaldRH20!
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) January 31, 2020
Ideally McInnes wanted to secure Hernandez earlier in the window, but had to endure the sweat of a deadline day deal.
Hernandez underwent his medical in Paris yesterday, before jetting in to meet up with the Reds at their Glasgow hotel ahead of today’s clash with Rangers.
He said: “These conversations have been ongoing for a while.
“This is a signing we have wanted to do from the start of the window, but due to complications getting things agreed thankfully we managed to get there.”