WITH Stephen Gleeson’s future now decided, Dons boss Karl Robinson says he wants at least three ‘big impact’ signings this summer. And he’s emphatically declared that no players will be sold – at any price.
The Dons boss flew out to Spain for a month’s holiday this week and is expecting most of the club’s transfer business to be completed in his absence, with a list of targets left in the capable hands of new assistant manager Mick Harford and first team coach Ian Wright.
Robinson wants a right back, central defender and striker to bolster his squad for next season after star midfielder Gleeson ended months of uncertainty by penning a new two-year contract earlier this week.
Before the 23-year-old had agreed terms, Robinson admitted that he had another midfielder in mind should Gleeson move on. It’s now unclear whether or not another body to play in the middle of the park is still on his agenda, but what is for sure is that he wants to persuade Alan Smith to drop two divisions permanently after his release from Premier League Newcastle United.
“It’s not a financial thing,” said Robinson. “This is a life-changing opportunity for him.
“He’s getting offers from abroad and there are a number of offers coming his way. He’s got to see what suits his lifestyle. I think the world of him.
“He’s shown tremendous respect to me and this team. We’ve had a little chat and it’s looking good. But don’t get anything for granted in football because there are so many things that can change people’s decisions.
“There are clubs interested in him, but we’ve got to make sure we keep our bottle and do our job right.”
And players coming in is the only thing on Robinson’s mind. With such a small squad finishing the last League 1 season, he says Dons won’t be selling anyone – no matter what bids come in for his men.
“I don’t care about big transfer bids – no one is for sale,” said Robinson. “I don’t want to sell any player and the chairman has backed me on that.
“There have not been any official bids, but there’s been talk. I just don’t want to sell any player. We’re fortunate that for the last two years we’ve been fantastic with our money which has allowed us not to need to sell anybody.
“I need a right back, a central defender, and a forward to help Charlie MacDonald out. I think we’ll be almost there then. The season is finished but I’m probably more stressed than I was during the season. You only have games then, now I’ve got agents phoning me all the time, offering the new Pele, but it doesn’t always work that way.
“I want three people to come in who will have a big impact on the team. I’m sure Charlie MacDonald will start scoring goals again next season – I’m full of confidence in that – so he’ll be like a new signing.
“We’ve got our targets, we’ve touched base with the agents, the players and the clubs, now we’ve got to get some deals done.”
When it comes to new men coming in, Robinson has hinted that they could include familiar faces from Dons’ League 1 campaign just gone, which could mean chairman Pete Winkelman signing off a cheque or two in the weeks ahead.
“The chairman has told me that if there is someone I want and we can afford then we can go and get him,” said Robinson. “He’s been brilliant.
“There are people who have done well against us this year. People who have been man of the match in some games. You’ve just got to make sure you get it right, and bring the right type of people in.
“I want people who understand what this club is about, because it’s a unique club, so they have got to have the right mentality as well. We want a squad of 22 players, which is still small, but it’s bigger than what we’ve had this year.”