Dundee United Ray McKinnon has hailed the marquee signing of Scotland goalkeeper Cammy Bell as a “major coup” for the Tangerines.
Bell has agreed a deal with the Tannadice club after securing a severance package from Rangers and the move will be formally confirmed today.
Being able to persuade the 29-year-old to wave goodbye to the prospect of life in the Premiership next season with the Light Blues for a switch to the Championship with United is a terrific piece of business by McKinnon.
The hope is that it will now help convince others to give it a go as well.
McKinnon has been talking day and night with agents and players, and the hard work has paid off handsomely with Bell agreeing to put pen to paper.
The United boss said: “We are delighted Cammy has agreed to join us and it’s a massive boost for the club.
“We have worked really hard to get him in and he is a huge signing for us.
“He had other offers – likes of Hearts and Hibs were after him – so it’s a major coup.
“The fact he spoke to other teams but chose to come to Dundee United is a really positive sign for the club.
“I like the fact he’s hungry and that shone through when I was speaking to him.
“He also wants to get back into the Scotland squad.
“When I spoke to him we got on well, I was honest with him and told him that I have great belief in him.
“He sees coming to Tannadice as a real chance to get himself back playing again and back to where he was before the niggling injuries he had.
“It’s not about money for him coming here – you can be sure of that.
“He would have been offered more at other clubs but he really wanted to come here.”
McKinnon has spoken in recent weeks about the need to structure a spine through his team and Bell will form the base of that.
“Cammy has loads of experience, is a Scotland international and knows the game here inside out,” added McKinnon.
“He is a talker so communication with the defence won’t be a problem.
“If your back four have a goalkeeper they believe in then it gives everyone confidence.
“The spine of the team is hugely important and he’s the first part of that.
“He will bring so much to us in terms of giving the team a platform.”
McKinnon is steadily getting there now as regards recruitment and he revealed that he has invited Scotland under-19 international Zak Jules up from Reading in order to have a look at the left-sided central defender.
The initial hope was he would be arriving with the other batch of trailists when pre-season training starts officially next Monday but Jules will remain south until new Royals boss Jaap Stam has assessed his squad.
“We will be bringing up Zak Jules from Reading,” said McKinnon.
“He plays left centre-half and that’s something we don’t have.
“Everyone I’ve spoken to has said he’s really kicked on in the last six months so I’m excited about getting a look at him.
“There are other clubs interested but hopefully if he shows up well we’ll be able to get him.
“He’s big, strong and very quick.
“The other trialists are coming in next week but he’ll be a week later.
“Jaap Stam wants to keep him for a week or so to get to know him.”
Also, McKinnon confirmed that Aberdeen frontman Cammy Smith is also of interest to him, with a loan move not yet ruled out.
“Cammy Smith is one that could happen but we’ll have to wait and see about that,” he added.
“He is someone we’ve spoken about because he’s a very good player.
“He’s still young but has played 70-odd games for Aberdeen and is a hard-working type with great ability.
“He is someone I’ve always liked.”
Dons boss Derek McInnes added that if Smith were to head down the road to Tannadice then his departure would be delayed until at least after Aberdeen have faced Fola Esch of Luxembourg in their Europa League first round qualifier next Thursday and the return tie the following week.
“It is a possibility,” said McInnes when asked of United’s bid to sign Smith.
“A couple of clubs have asked about Cammy, Dundee United being one of them.
“At the minute Cammy will be with us for the first round of European games.
“We will see where we go from there.”
Former Celtic striker Denny Johnstone is another player interesting the Tangerines as a possible loan target but the money involved in facilitating his switch from Birmingham City could prove prohibitive.