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Five players that we could move for once Derek McInnes becomes Sunderland manager

With Derek McInnes’ appointment looking more likely by the day, Molly Burke casts her eye over potential targets - mostly from the SPL - that he may have his eye on.

Celtic v Aberdeen - William Hill Scottish Cup Final Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen)

Jonny Hayes is a player that has caught the eye of several clubs after a successful season with Aberdeen. The likes of Birmingham City, Celtic and Cardiff City are all keen on the Irishman who contributed 9 goals and a whopping 18 assists for the Dons this season.

The 29-year-old joined Aberdeen on a free in 2012 and has since made 165 appearances for the club - bagging 23 goals in the process.

Celtic v Aberdeen - William Hill Scottish Cup Final Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Despite interest from elsewhere, Hayes could be persuaded to follow his current gaffer if McInnes was to join Sunderland. However, the club would have to act fast if they wanted to bring in the midfielder, with bids from Cardiff and Celtic already rumoured to be on the table.

Leigh Griffiths (Celtic)

Leigh Griffiths has certainly impressed with Celtic, scoring 64 goals in 94 appearances for the Scottish Champions. The 26-year-old had an notably brilliant 2015/16 season, ending the campaign with 40 goals in all competitions, making him the first player to do so since Henrik Larsson 13 years ago.

His fantastic form saw him claim the PFA Scotland, Scottish Football Writers’ and Scottish Premiership Player of the Year awards.

Off the back of a stellar year for Griffiths, everyone expected big things from this season. However, injury saw the striker forced down the pecking order with Moussa Dembele taking his place as Celtic’s goal machine.

Perhaps the highlight of his season came just this past weekend when he scored two freekicks for Scotland against England at Hampden Park - goals that will have certainly put his name back out there.

Celtic v Aberdeen - William Hill Scottish Cup Final Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

With Griffiths now playing second fiddle to the Frenchman he may seek first team football elsewhere. However, with Dembele now being linked with a move to AC Milan, it may prove difficult to prise the Scotsman away from Celtic Park - especially to a cash-strapped club like our own.

Ryan Christie (Celtic)

The 22-year-old has struggled for game time under Brendan Rodgers and was subsequently loaned out to Aberdeen for the second half of the 2016/17 season.

Celtic v Leicester City - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Derek McInnes was very much impressed with the youngster, who scored 6 goals in 13 appearances during his short spell at Pittodrie, and Aberdeen are keen on bringing the midfielder back over the summer. However, if McInnes is to make the move to Sunderland his interest in Christie may still stand.

Liam Boyce (Ross County)

Liam Boyce signed for Ross County in 2014 and kicked off his career in Scotland in impressive style. The striker bagged 17 goals in 24 games in the 15/16 season, before becoming the Scottish Premiership’s top scorer with 23 goals in the following campaign.

Northern Ireland v New Zealand - International Friendly Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

With such a prolific record for the 26-year-old it is a surprise that his heroics have come for County - who ended the season in 7th place - but Boyce managed to shrug off the likes of Celtic star Moussa Dembele to get his hands on the golden boot award.

The Northern Irishman has previously said he would like to play at a higher level, but would he see a move to the Championship as a step in the right direction?

Ryan Gauld (Sporting Lisbon)

Ryan Gauld was an exciting prospect during his time with Dundee, being shortlisted for the PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year award as well as attracting interest from the likes of Liverpool and Real Madrid at the age of 18.

However, a disastrous move to Sporting Lisbon has seen him struggle for game time, with the 21-year-old being sent out on loan to Vitoria de Setubal in an attempt to kick-start his career in Portugal.

England U19 v Scotland U19 Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images

According to reports this week, Sporting Lisbon are willing to let him leave for around £3m. It is possible that McInnes will know of Gauld from his time in Scotland and may look to bring the youngster in for that bit of creativity that we lack.

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