Jonny Hayes is expected to seal his return to Aberdeen this week after agreeing a two-year deal.
Winger Hayes, who is a free agent after leaving Celtic, will become Dons boss Derek McInnes’ first signing of the summer, subject to a medical.
The Irishman spent five years at Pittodrie, winning the League Cup under McInnes in 2014, before leaving for Parkhead three years ago in a £1.3 million deal.
Aberdeen were put on red alert by news of Hayes’ Hoops departure and appear to have beat English Championship sides, as well as Premiership new boys Dundee United, to the 32-year-old’s signature.
It was announced last week the Dons have entered talks with players and other staff over wage cuts due to the sustained impact of the coronavirus crisis and it is understood Hayes has made a substantial financial sacrifice to return to the north-east.
If all goes well with his medical, he will be able to join pre-season at the Dons bio-secure Cormack Park with his new team-mates, which got under way last Monday.
We discussed where Jonny Hayes will play for the Dons on last week’s episode of our Northern Goal podcast:
Manager McInnes will gradually bring up the intensity level as he gets Aberdeen ready for the new Premiership season starting behind closed doors on August 1.
As part of their preparations, McInnes hopes – despite stringent Covid-19 safety rules, which meant training began with only two players allowed to do non-contact work per quarter pitch – the Reds won’t have to forego “very important” pre-season friendlies, potentially against fellow top-flight sides, before competitive football gets under way.
He said: “We don’t know how that looks yet.
“There is a working group to get return to play at the minute and we are looking to see how that looks.
“Travelling together on coaches, sitting in the same dressing room – all these things have to be looked at.
“But certainly pre-season friendlies are a very important part of any campaign.
“However, even more important now with the time we have had off.
“We will try to replicate 11 v 11 through our training and will try to look to get some games with teams who are in a similar position to ourselves.
“Who have done all the testing and are up and running and keen to get some match practice.”
McInnes explained how, despite the sustained impact of the coronavirus pandemic meaning the Dons have had to put staff on the UK Government’s furlough scheme, he expects everyone involved with the club will continue to pull together to keep Aberdeen moving forward with a return to action on the horizon.
The gaffer said: “Working in tandem with support and the wider community we have done a lot of good work.
“Now that we can see the season on the horizon now and we have something to work towards it starts to whet the appetite.
Meanwhile, Dons chairman Dave Cormack says the Red Army have been “great” in helping find half of the cash needed to offset a £10 million hit from the Covid-19 crisis.
With wage cuts currently being discussed, the US-based businessman confirmed £5m has already been raised from investors, player and staff wage deferrals and through supporters buying season tickets and supporting the AberDNA fan funding scheme.
Cormack tweeted: “All at AFC working 120 per cent to manage crisis. With no fans at games we now estimate an income hit of £10m.
“Incredibly we’ve managed to raise/save £5m so far. Football success and protecting jobs a priority.
“Fans been great. Can only get thru this together. Let’s do it!”