Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes has told The Scottish Sun that he is aware of Jonny Hayes’ availability – but a move isn’t likely right now.

Hayes has been approaching the end of his contract at Celtic, and an emotional Instagram post on Friday suggested that he was on his way out.

Celtic confirmed the Irishman’s departure on Saturday evening. The 32-year-old now becomes a free agent, and will be looking for a new club.

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Already, rumours are surrounding Hayes. The Daily Mail claim that Preston North End and Stoke City are leading the race for his signature.

Hayes, who can play at left back or on the left of midfield, may well fancy a crack at Championship football. He hasn’t played in England since leaving Leicester City in 2009, after all.

Yet one place where Hayes is loved is Aberdeen. Hayes joined the Dons from Inverness Caledonian Thistle in 2012, and went on to score 29 goals in 206 games.

His availability may lead to many wanting him back at Pittodrie. Hayes left the club in 2017, after playing a key role under McInnes.

Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

McInnes has now admitted that he is aware of Hayes being available, but a move just isn’t feasible in the current climate. Aberdeen instead want to safeguard the players they currently have given the global pandemic, and aren’t in a position to bring Hayes back.

“I am well aware of Jonny’s situation,” said McInnes. “He has an association with the club and he has obviously worked with me before. But we need to concentrate on other matters at the minute, unfortunately. Until we know the lie of the land, it doesn’t matter how good they are or what we think they’d bring to the team.”

“The fact of the matter is we are not in a position where we are looking to bring any players in. There might be a bit more pain ahead for us and at this moment, there is no chance of bringing players in. Normally at this time when agents call you are straight on things as you don’t want to miss out. But the truth of the matter is, we are not in a position where we can bring players in. I am just trying to safeguard the future and the security of the ones we have at the moment,” he added.

Aberdeen’s Jonathan Hayes in action with Celtic’s Patrick Roberts (REUTERS)

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