Scott McKenna has completed his move to English Championship Nottingham Forest, netting Aberdeen the biggest transfer fee they’ve ever received for a player.
The Scottish international centre-back’s future has been the subject of much speculation since he cemented his place in Derek McInnes’ team around three years ago, with interest from Aston Villa, Queens Park Rangers and Celtic, to name but a few of the 23-year-old youth academy product’s suitors.
Villa famously proposed a loan-to-buy arrangement which could’ve netted the Reds £7 million during the 2018/19 season.
However, the Reds have now agreed to part with McKenna for £3m. The deal they’ve reached with Forest could go up to £5m, if the defender satisfies certain requirements.
𝙈𝙘𝙆𝙚𝙣𝙣𝙖 𝙢𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙍𝙚𝙙𝙨 🔴#NFFC are delighted to announce the signing of Scottish international defender Scott McKenna!
— Nottingham Forest FC (@NFFC) September 23, 2020
It is also understood Aberdeen have a sell-on clause inserted in the 18-cap international’s four-year contract at the City Ground.
The consensus among the panel on our Northern Goal podcast panel this week was that the deal suits all parties:
McKenna submitted a transfer request ahead of the Europa League qualifying clash away at Rijeka last term, and McInnes has often spoken about his acceptance he would lose his top centre-half at some stage.
Now the deal is completed, McKenna goes right to the top of the list of bumper fees the Dons have received for their players.
Here are the top ten fees:
1. Scott McKenna – Nottingham Forest £3m
2. Eoin Jess – Coventry £1.75m
Hall of famer Jess broke into the Dons first team for the 1989 League Cup Final win against Rangers, aged 19. He is quite possibly the most-talented product of the club’s academy.
In 1996, after six seasons as Aberdeen’s key source of creativity and goals, fans’ favourite Jess got his big move to Premier League Coventry. However, having failed to get a regular run of starts, the Portsoy-raised Scotland international attacker was back at Pittodrie for a second spell in 1997, with the Reds paying £650,000 to secure his return.
3. Stephen Wright – Rangers £1.5m
Wright came through the youth academy and was a regular at right-back for Aberdeen between 1990 and 1995.
However, after moving to Ibrox his career stalled and never really got going again, despite subsequent moves to Bradford, Dundee United and Scunthorpe.
4. Jonny Hayes – Celtic £1.3m
Hayes, 33, is back at Aberdeen for a second spell after three years at champions Celtic.
When the Hoops paid more than a million pounds for Hayes in 2017, he had enjoyed a reasonably successful five-year term at Pittodrie under Derek McInnes, winning the League Cup in 2014 and coming so close to winning the Scottish Cup over Celtic in the last game before his move to Parkhead, scoring the opened in the final.
5. Russell Anderson – Sunderland £1m
Like Hayes and Jess, Anderson returned to Pittodrie after his big move away, which was the Reds’ first £1m fee received.
In Scotland cap Anderson’s case, his move to England with Sunderland came in 2007 after a decade in the Dons first team.
The centre-half was unfortunately plagued by injuries in three years at the then-Premier League Black Cats, before he returned to semi-regular action in a season with Championship Derby County, despite continued injury issues.
Craig Brown brought him back to captain Aberdeen in 2011 and he lifted the League Cup as skipper under McInnes in 2014.
6. David Robertson – Rangers £970,000
Aberdonian Robertson came through at Pittodrie and commanded the Dons left-back slot from 1986 to 1991 alongside iconic centre-back duo Willie Miller and Alex McLeish.
In 1991, following Aberdeen’s final day Premier Division heartbreak at Ibrox, Robertson completed a move to Rangers, where he spent six championship-winning seasons before a injury-riddled four-year spell at Leeds United.
7. Steve Archibald – Spurs £800,000
Archibald scored 46 goals in 110 games for Aberdeen in a spell which coincided with the first title of the Alex Ferguson era.
After that Premier Division win, the 27-cap Scotland striker moved to Tottenham, where he was similarly prolific, winning two FA Cups and the UEFA Cup.
He went on to play for Barcelona in the 1986 European Cup final, as well as a host of other clubs at home and abroad.
7. Craig Hignett – Barnsley £800,000
After semi-successful spells at Crewe and Middlesbrough, midfielder Hignett joined Aberdeen on a Bosman in 1998.
However, he only lasted six months (15 appearances, two goals) at Pittodrie before he left for Barnsley in an £800,000 move.
A decent fee given the circumstances.
8. Joe Miller – Celtic £650,000
Youth academy product Miller was a regular in Alex Ferguson’s Reds team at 18 and was only 19 when he left Aberdeen for Celtic in 1987. The £650,000 the Hoops paid for his services was a Scottish record and the highest fee paid for a teenager.
The striker-winger spent six years at Parkhead, before returning to Aberdeen for a second spell in the 90s. All in all, Miller – who played until he was 40 in the lower leagues – made 264 Dons appearance, scoring 47 times.
8. Stephen Glass – Newcastle United £650,000
Dundonian left winger Glass won the Skol League Cup in 1995 at the age 19, famously winning a mountain bike for his performance in the 2-0 final win over Dundee.
Glass moved to Premier League Newcastle after 131 senior Reds appearances. He went on to play for Watford, Hibs, Dunfermline and the Carolina RailHawks in the United States.
He is currently in charge of Aberdeen’s strategic partners Atlanta United as manager.
9. Lee Miller – Middlesbrough £600,000
Striker Miller joined Jimmy Calderwood’s Aberdeen on a free transfer from Dundee United as a seasoned professional in 2006, and spent three-and-a-half seasons at the club, scoring 33 goals, before he joined Gordon Strachan’s Middlesbrough in February 2010.
After spells at the likes of Carlisle and Livingston, he is currently co-manager of boyhood club Falkirk, where he had three separate stints as a player.
10. Fraser Fyvie – Wigan Athletic £500,000
Aberdonian Fyvie was Aberdeen’s youngest-ever player when he made his debut as a 16-year-old in 2009.
The midfielder returned from a serious knee injury suffered at Alloa in 2010 to become a regular once more during the 2011-12 season.
This prompted then-Premier League Wigan to sign the central midfielder, and Fyvie won the FA Cup with the club in 2013.
He has since returned to Scotland, winning the Scottish Cup with Hibs in 2015/16 and also turning out for Dundee United.
Fyvie is now at Aberdeen’s other club, Cove Rangers, who he helped to the League Two title last year.
10. Gordon Strachan/Jim Leighton – Manchester United £500,000
Like Archibald above, the identical £500,000 Aberdeen received from Manchester United in 1984 and 1988 for winger Strachan and goalkeeper Leighton shows the inflation and growth of football transfer fees since that period.
Two of Aberdeen’s European Cup Winners’ Cup-winning Gothenburg Greats and greatest-ever players moved to the Red Devils for money which would today be considered peanuts.
In their time at the Dons, both players won multiple league titles and Scottish Cups, while also racking up Scotland caps, before moving on.
Leighton of course returned to Aberdeen for a second spell between 1997 and 2000.