McInnes believes rebuilding job at Aberdeen is biggest yet
The Dons manager will have to replace key players, including Graeme Shinnie, this summer.
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has admitted it will be a challenge to replace Graeme Shinnie and says he faces a big rebuilding job this summer.
Shinnie agreed a pre-contract deal with Derby County this week and leaves McInnes needing to find a new captain as well as a key performer for his side.
While the manager said he understood the player's decision and that Shinnie leaves with everyone's best wishes, he was under no illusions about the difficulty of replacing him in the team and squad.
"You have to try and find that elsewhere," McInnes said. "It's difficult to replace like for like.
"You get similar types of personalities, similar types of players but like last season, how do we replace Ryan Christie and Kenny McLean?
"These types of players cost a lot of money and because they've developed here over a period of time they become more rounded players, both technically but also on the mental side.
"You work with what you've got but you also try to bring in similar types of players and try to get as close to it as you possibly can.
"We don't have the luxury of being able to go and buy that, you have to try and identify it and develop it rather than get the ready-made article like the players we've lost."
Shinnie isn't the only player McInnes will be looking to replace, with Greg Stewart and James Wilson leaving at the end of their loan deals and Gary Mackay-Steven likely to move.
The Dons boss agreed that made for one of the toughest rebuilding jobs since he arrived at Pittodrie. While he said that he had been active in speaking to player agents and working on recruitment, trying to "recruit smartly".
He said: "It's inevitable that when you lose a lot of key players, the culmination of that makes this one more of a challenge but it's a challenge we need to meet head on.
"With the support of the board, we feel confident we can recruit the players to come in and make us a competitive squad, as we always have been.
"It's easy to get downhearted and dispirited when you lose player after player all the time but the nature of my job and the nature of the board's job is to make sure we stay competitive on the pitch.
"As difficult and challenging as that is, that is the job. We'll try to be active and make good signings in the summer. We don't have the money to go and throw at it but we can recruit smartly and hopefully when we report back in June we've strengthened in key areas and we're looking forward.
"We've still got a lot of good in the building and it's important that they see a lot of good coming in."