Dundee boss James McPake says getting the club’s talented youngsters tied down to new deals was the most important piece of business of the summer.
The Dark Blues pulled off a major transfer move by bringing former Rangers, Blackpool, Liverpool and Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam to the club last month.
They also brought in the likes of Alex Jakubiak, Danny Mullen, Lee Ashcroft and Osman Sow to bolster their bid for promotion back to the top flight this season.
However, McPake insists securing the club’s academy graduates are sticking around to develop at Dens Park over the next three years was a bigger deal than any new signing.
First it was the academy’s poster boy Fin Robertson to sign on the dotted line for another three years.
He was followed this week by Max Anderson, Josh Mulligan and Lyall Cameron in penning the same length of deals.
Robertson has already made himself a regular in the first team, playing 21 times last season under his former U/18s coach McPake.
There were fleeting glimpses of the other three with Anderson, 19, featuring in the Challenge Cup, Mulligan, 17, in the Betfred Cup and Cameron, 17, earning a league start in January following two sub appearances in cup ties.
All three of them have now committed to stay at Dens Park until they hit their 20s at least and the Dundee boss is delighted.
He said: “That was a massive bit of business and a really important piece of business done by the football club.
“They were getting down to their last year with their previous deals and it was vital we extended those contracts because we believe in the players and what we believe in as a football club.
“There’s also another batch coming through behind them, too.
“It’s as important a piece of business done by the club as any this summer, in my opinion.”
Mulligan started against Peterhead in the League Cup group stage at the start of last season before helping Paul Hartley’s Cove Rangers to the League Two crown.
He’s headed out on loan once more, this time with the Blue Toon for the upcoming season in League One.
Former Dundee midfielder Jim McInally was keen to add the youngster to his Peterhead squad after playing the Dark Blues twice in pre-season.
He has also taken attacking midfielder Lyall Cameron for the campaign after he impressed in the friendlies, too.
McPake added: “Both Lyall and Josh are strong characters who we hope will do well on loan.
“Peterhead really impressed me in the two games we played against them in pre-season with the way they played.
“They also had a real interest in the two young lads and I’m delighted they are going there.”
One heading out of Dens was former Rangers and Stoke man Jamie Ness, however.
The central midfielder left by mutual consent on deadline day on Monday after an injury-hit spell with the Dark Blues.
He managed just 13 appearances last term with a succession of injuries denying him the chance of a regular run in the side.
With Adam coming in, Ness fell further down the pecking order and McPake says it “suited both parties” to part company.
“You could see he is a quality player when he played and he always showed it in training, too,” added McPake.
“He’s just had a very unlucky spell with injuries and I can sympathise with him because I had a few in my career, too.
“He’s working his way back but it suited both parties to go our separate ways.
“He is a great lad, a great pro and I really hope he can go somewhere, get himself right and show the player he is.”