Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes is hopeful of agreeing on a permanent deal to sign striker Greg Stewart this summer – and admitted he wanted to do a deal in January to sign him long-term before agreeing to a loan move.

Stewart returned to Pittodrie in January from Birmingham City after spending the first half of the season with Kilmarnock and is out of contract in the summer.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MAY 13: Moussa Dembele of Celtic and Greg Stewart of Aberdeen in action during the Scottish Premier League match between Celtic and Aberdeen at Celtic Park on May 13, 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland.

 (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

McInnes admits Stewart will have “plenty of options” this summer but will move if he’s “given encouragement.”

“When we signed Greg in January we were keen to do a permanent deal,” McInnes told the Press and Journal.

0th March 2019, Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh, Scotland; Ladbrokes Premiership football, Heart of Midlothian versus Aberdeen; Craig Levein manager of Hearts and Aberdeen Manager Derek McInnes shake hands before kick off

3(photo by Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)

But the agent and Greg were keen to do it as a loan, so Greg could look at his options in the summer. He’s a good player and I’m sure he will have plenty of options. I would do it if given encouragement, yes.”

Stewart has only hit the net once since returning to Pittodrie in January but made a blistering start to the season at Killie.

8th December 2017, Dens Park, Dundee, Scotland; Scottish Premier League football, Dundee versus Aberdeen; Dundees Scott Allan goes past Aberdeens Greg Stewart as Jon Aurtenetxe watches

(Photo by David Young/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Rangers are also said to be monitoring Stewart so McInnes may need to move quickly if he is to get his man.

If he does keep Stewart at Pittodrie it would be a really good bit of business for the Dons with Graeme Shinnie and Gary Mackay-Steven both looking set to leave in the summer.

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