Defender Andy Considine believes Jonny Hayes would be even better in a second spell with Aberdeen.
Hayes is set to become a free agent after confirming he will leave Celtic when his contract expires this summer.
Considine reckons, despite being 32, Hayes is fitter and stronger than when he exited Pittodrie for Parkhead in a £1.3 million deal in 2017.
Dons boss Derek McInnes recently confirmed he cannot make any signings until the club finalise the full financial hit of the coronavirus pandemic.
Considine, who secured the Evening Express Player of the Year award, hopes the Dons can still find a way to bring back Hayes.
He said: “I would be absolutely delighted if Jonny was to come back.
“Jonny was a massive player for us and carried us through games in his last season before he went to Celtic.
“He would be a massive player for us.
“I have read a few people say that because of his age Jonny would not be as fit as he was when he was at Aberdeen.
“But Jonny has had three years at the best club in the country.
“A club that plays in the Champions League every season.
“Jonny has had some brilliant experiences and played with some really top players.
“If he was to come back, Jonny would return even stronger, even fitter and more experienced.
“He would also have that real winning mentality that they have at Celtic.”
Earlier this week Hayes confirmed he had “always loved” Aberdeen and playing against the Dons with Celtic was ‘strange’.
Championship side Stoke City, managed by former Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill, are among the clubs understood to be keen on signing Hayes.
Cardiff City, who were keen on signing the winger before he moved to Celtic, are also understood to be tracking Hayes as are Preston North End.
Aberdeen had enquired in a previous season about the possibility of securing Hayes on a loan deal whilst he was at Celtic.
Winger Hayes made 28 appearances for Celtic last season, scoring once.
That goal was in the 2-0 defeat of title rivals Rangers in September.
Hayes recently revealed he had contract talks with Celtic boss Neil Lennon where it was indicated he would get a new contract.
The Irish winger believes the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic was the catalyst for his Parkhead exit.
Hayes scored 30 goals for Aberdeen in 207 appearances and was a League Cup winner under Derek McInnes in 2014.
His final game for Aberdeen was the 2017 Scottish Cup final at Hampden, where he scored in a 2-1 loss to Celtic.
Considine said: “If we were to get hold of Jonny it would be a massive plus for us.
“I am sure there are plenty of competition out there who would love to have his signature.
“However, I am sure we would all welcome him back with welcome arms.”
McInnes secured the return of Northern Ireland international winger Niall McGinn in January 2018 after he left the club.
McGinn had initially rejected a new contract in summer 2017 to sign on with South Korean side Gwangju FC in the K League.
When McGinn left Gwangju by mutual consent McInnes moved quickly to snap him up on a three-and-a-half year-contract.
However, McInnes fears the challenging financial environment caused by the Covid-19 crisis and the likelihood of games being behind closed doors until 2021 means it is unlikely he will be able to enter the race to sign Hayes.
Although there will be no imminent new signings arriving at Pittodrie, McInnes has the safety net of the vast majority of his squad being contracted for next season and beyond.
Considine believes that will be a huge positive as focus moves towards the targeted August 1 restart for the Scottish Premiership.
This week Motherwell, who pipped the Dons to third spot in the Premiership, confirmed 10 players including captain Peter Hartley were leaving the club.
Relegated Hearts this week confirmed 15 players would be released.
Considine, 33, said: “Having so many in the squad under contract for next year and the next couple of years will stand us in good stead for next season.
“That will hopefully see us produce more consistent results.
“A lot of teams are letting go of players and staff.
“However the club has made sure everyone is under contract and ready to go for next season.
“Keeping hold of all our players from last year is going to be huge for us.”