Ambitious UAE club Dubai City FC today revealed they want a long-term link-up with Aberdeen.
One of the fastest rising youth academies in the Middle East, City have already had players snapped up by English clubs such as Bolton.
City’s director of football and head coach Terry Kidd reckons they can provide a pipeline of talent for the Dons.
Kidd also believes a collaboration could see Pittodrie talent move out to the UAE on loan or on permanent deals.
Aberdeen recently entered into a strategic partnership with US side Atlanta United which will see player and commercial collaboration.
Kidd is looking for a similar collaboration as he reckons Dubai City can allow the Dons a foothold in the booming football market in the Middle East.
Aberdeen and Dubai City will deliver a three-day international training camp this week, overseen by Gothenburg Great Neil Simpson, head of the Aberdeen youth academy.
Kidd, 36, said: “Hopefully off the back of the January programme we have in Dubai, Aberdeen will come away thinking it is an advantageous opportunity to link up.
“The opportunity we could look at longer term would be a potential player pipeline from Dubai into Aberdeen.
“I believe that is highly attainable for the players I have here.
“I would be very excited and very keen to explore a permanent link-up (with Aberdeen) if the avenue was open to prompt that discussion.
“The more we grow in Dubai there may be opportunities for players to move out to the Middle East, whether on a loan capacity or potentially full-time.
“That could be ambitious, but why not in terms of where the club is going?
“The ownership that has come into Aberdeen have a very strategic view of how the club can advance and start boxing with the big boys.
“Somewhere down the road Dubai City Football Club could maybe offer some value to that as well. Let’s see.
“It would be something I view would be a huge advantage for both clubs.
“I would be wide open to a conversation further down the road and the new chairman has a broader lens on how he sees the club developing its international footprint.
“That will bring the fruits for the first team, youth development and overall success on the football front and commercially for the club.”
Formed in 2017, Dubai City boast highly-qualified UEFA A and B-licensed coaches recruited from within the UAE and British football.
Champions league and Club World Cup holders Liverpool were out in Dubai last year for a youth football showcase to scout the hottest talent.
It was open to clubs from the GCC region (Gulf Cooperation Council – the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait and Yemen).
Aberdeen-born and raised Max Foster, who moved to Dubai with his parents, was at Dubai City before signing a two-year deal with League Two Mansfield Town.
Kidd, a former Aberdeen youth player, said: “Max Foster is at Mansfield Town and we had another two players who came through the club sign two-year contracts at Bolton last season.
“The two players who signed for Bolton were playing for my Under-18s last year and are now playing u23 against the likes of Manchester United.
“There is potentially more than just running a three-day camp and clinic.
“I see a lot of synergy with what both ourselves and Aberdeen are trying to do in terms of creating a more inter-national footprint.
“Dubai is a niche in a very much untapped part of the world where there is a strong international community of youth footballers.
“They have the ability to potentially make an impact in the United Kingdom.
“It is almost a blank canvas and is screaming out for someone to say we are going to put some stakes in the ground here, invest, commit and get some eyes on it on a regular basis.
“I would guarantee that the return of that would be a really positive one.”
Dubai City FC train at state-of-the-art facilities at Al Barsha, Umm Seqeim 3 and Nad Al Sheba.
In just two-and-a-half years Kidd and Dubai City have forged a formidable reputation in a market that already has academy set-ups affiliated to some of the biggest clubs in the world such as Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Kidd said: “We are knocking on the door of a semi-professional league which has the potential for us to jump up a league if we were to win it.
“Whether that is this year, next year or five years from now, the opportunity is there which would get more attractive conversations from clubs like Aberdeen in regards to loaning or trading players.”