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Aberdeen happy as Jonny Hayes takes a cut to make return

Celtic v Aberdeen – William Hill Scottish Cup – Final – Hampden Park
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Aberdeen say Jonny Hayes made a “significant financial sacrifice” to return to Pittodrie.

The Irish winger has signed a two-year contract after setting his sights on a move back to Aberdeen following three seasons at Celtic.

Aberdeen last week opened talks with players over wage cuts and manager Derek McInnes had recently stated they were not in a position to make new signings.

But the club have made an exception for the Republic of Ireland international, who scored 30 goals in 207 appearances in his first spell at Pittodrie, twice making the PFA Scotland player of the year shortlist.

A club statement read: “From the outset, Jonny made clear his desire to return to Aberdeen, not only to fulfil his continued footballing ambitions, but also because of the strength of relationships he has maintained with the club since he left.

“As testament to the depth of feeling Jonny has for the Dons, he has also taken the decision to make a significant financial sacrifice in order to return to the North East.

“Given the challenging period the club is currently facing, this was a substantial gesture which unquestionably enabled the deal to be completed.”

McInnes added: “Bringing Jonny back to the club is fantastic. In light of the current financial circumstances as a result of the pandemic, this has only been possible due to Jonny being out of contract and his real desire to rejoin Aberdeen.

“Jonny’s determination and willingness to return here is illustrated by his generous gesture to make it happen. He has never hidden his love for Aberdeen, and indeed I know his family enjoyed living in the North East, so it is no surprise to me that he was prepared to make a financial sacrifice in order to return.

“We sold Jonny to Celtic three years ago and he was a key player in our team, but he returns undoubtedly a better player for his experiences and will provide excellent cover in the left sided area of the pitch following Greg Leigh’s departure. I can’t wait to see him perform in our team once again.”

Hayes is excited to be back at the club, who recently opened their first training ground at a cost of about £12million.

He told Aberdeen’s website: “The club has made real progress since I have been away, particularly with the building of Cormack Park which looks brilliant. It was a major attraction in returning and as soon as the manager phoned and said Aberdeen were interested it was always my preferred choice.

“We were then able to come to an agreement to make the deal happen which was suitable for all parties.

“I appreciate it is a tough time for the club given the current climate with Covid-19 but everyone wanted to make it happen. I was more than happy to play my part by foregoing some financial gain and I am just thankful it was concluded positively.

“I want to come back and win some winners medals. I think everyone associated with Aberdeen deserves it. There have been a few near misses with some of the recent finals, but it would be very nice to come back and win some trophies.”