Aberdeen have continued their summer recruitment drive by adding Liverpool defender Rhys Williams on loan shortly after sealing the return of influential midfielder Graeme Shinnie on a permanent contract.
The Dons announced on Wednesday morning that 31-year-old Shinnie, who captained the club during a fruitful spell on loan from Wigan in the second half of last season, had moved to Pittodrie on a three-year deal.
And just a couple of hours later, they concluded a season-long loan deal for England Under-21 international centre-back Williams, who has made 14 starts and a further five appearances off the bench for Liverpool’s first team.
Manager Barry Robson is delighted to have been able to bring Shinnie back to Aberdeen for a third time after he enjoyed four years with the club between 2015 and 2019, as well as last term’s stint in the Granite City. He skippered the Dons in both spells.
“Graeme is a captain, a real leader and is Aberdeen through and through,” said the manager.
“We’re absolutely delighted to get him back. This is where he belongs and his impact on the team and club last year was there for all to see.
“He is well aware of the level of expectation at this club and his wealth of experience will be a major advantage as we head into a busy season.”
Shinnie played a crucial role in turning around Aberdeen’s fortunes last season, taking the armband and leading the side back into Europe with a third-placed finish in the cinch Premiership.
“My full focus was always on returning here. It’s a club I love. I feel like I am back home again,” said Shinnie.
“I’m looking forward to the season ahead. It’s going to be tough but we’re building a squad now that is going to be ready for what lies ahead and being able to play in the group stages of a European competition is something I’ve always wanted so there are exciting times ahead.”
Williams has had spells on loan at Swansea and Blackpool in recent seasons since making all of his appearances for his parent club in the 2020/21 campaign.
“Coming from Liverpool, Rhys joins us with a great pedigree,” said Robson.
“He’s athletic, tall and we think we can improve him and give him the platform to continue his development. I’ve no doubt he’ll become a real asset for the team.
“We’ve developed a good understanding with Liverpool, and I think they trust us with their players.
“The squad is starting to take shape now ahead of what will be a busy season. That said, we have still got a lot of work to do, and I expect the next few weeks will be busy with more new arrivals.”
The move north reunites Williams with his former Liverpool colleague Leighton Clarkson, who recently signed a permanent deal with the Dons after impressing on loan last term.
“I’m really pleased to be here,” he said. “When I knew there was an opportunity to come to Aberdeen on loan I spoke to Leighton and he couldn’t speak highly enough about his experience.
“I actually met some of the boys during the summer so there will be a few familiar faces in the dressing room which I’m sure will help me settle quickly.
“There’s a lot to look forward to this season, particularly with European football, and I can’t wait to get started and show everyone what I am capable of.”