Arnason set to quit as Dons reject £5k-a-week demands

Kari Arnason set to quit Aberdeen after Dons reject his

£5k-a-week demands

Kari Arnason large picKari Arnason is heading out of Aberdeen after demanding £5000 a week to remain at Pittodrie.

The Dons offered the Icelandic midfielder terms that would have seen him become the highest-paid player in Craig Brown’s squad.

Arnason, however, believes he is worth more and after the club last night refused to break their salary cap the player’s days in the Granite City are numbered.

Aberdeen’s board held an emergency meeting to discuss the player’s demands but couldn’t meet his terms because with debts running around £12million, a strict budget must be adhered to.

Arnason’s rejection is a massive blow for Brown as the former Scotland manager was desperate to build Aberdeen around the midfielder for the next three years.

And the Red Army, who had signed an online petition and unfurled banners urging the directors to do everything within their power to retain his services, will be devastated at his departure.

Brown said: “I know Kari has rejected our offer and furthermore I know in my head he won’t be here next season.

“If he doesn’t accept the present deal then clearly he won’t be here next season. I spoke to him and while he is happy here, he wants a bigger salary.

“But I’m sure the club will not change its present offer as this is the maximum we can afford. It’s disappointing he’s decided to leave but I have to accept it and concentrate now on finding a possible replacement.”

A Pittodrie spokesman was adamant the player won’t be sold in the transfer window because the club are still chasing silverware but the reality is if a decent offer comes in the cash-hit Dons would find it difficult to turn down.

He said: “We made Kari an exceptionally good offer but the player believes he can earn a better deal elsewhere.

“Reports the club is willing to sell him during the current transfer window are wide of the mark though.

“He is crucial to our plans for the remainder of the current campaign in terms of climbing up the SPL table and enjoying a fruitful run in the Scottish Cup.”

The player’s representative, former Dons defender David Winnie, admitted Arnason could quit the club within days.

Winnie said: “Kari has decided the final offer made to him by Aberdeen is not what he wants.

“We were told there will be no further negotiations so he has accepted he will be leaving Aberdeen either this month or in the summer.

“It’s unfortunate as he genuinely loves it at Aberdeen and he also appreciates the efforts the club made to try to keep him.

“They made him a very good offer but he’s chosen to continue his career elsewhere. It’s now up to Aberdeen whether he leaves in January or in the summer.

“If they decide to hold on to him then Kari will continue to do his best to help Aberdeen go further in the Scottish Cup and climb up the league.”

Brown may now move for Dundee’s Gavin Rae to fill Arnason’s role but could face competition from Hibs. Stephen Hughes, however, has now improved his prospects of relaunching his career at Pittodrie.

The manager added: “Stephen has looked all right and we will make a decision on him. But even if we want to sign him, there is no guarantee he will accept our offer.

“Our problem is that we need players in as soon as possible because we are short on numbers.”