Having played more than 400 games in the English Championship and League One, midfielder Stephen Gleeson was searching for a new, exciting challenge.
Dons boss Derek McInnes convinced him he could find it at Pittodrie as part of a team he is rebuilding to close the gap on treble-winning Celtic.
When the chance of a first taste of European action was also added to the mix, Republic of Ireland cap Gleeson admits signing on at Aberdeen was a ‘no-brainer’.
Capped four times Gleeson has agreed a two-year deal, as McInnes steps up his summer rebuilding programme.
The 29-year-old was a free agent, having left Championship side Ipswich Town at the end of last season.
Gleeson confirmed conversations with McInnes convinced him to become the third signing of the summer.
McInnes has already secured Republic of Ireland squad midfielder Chris Forrester, 25, for £200,000 from Peterborough United on a three-year contract.
Hamilton’s Lewis Ferguson, 18, also joined the Reds.
Gleeson watched on television as Aberdeen beat Celtic 1-0 in the final game of the Premiership campaign to secure a runners-up finish.
McInnes’ intention to narrow the gap on the Hoops, who splashed out £9 million to sign Odsonne Edouard from Paris St Germain, is a challenge Gleeson relishes. He said: “He (McInnes) is one of the most impressive managers I have ever spoken to.
“His ambition and the way he sold the club to me were impressive. Everything he wanted to do this year really made the final decision for me to come up here.
“I watched the final game of the season, against Celtic, where Aberdeen were really impressive. In the last few years Aberdeen have been Celtic’s biggest rivals.
“I know from speaking to the manager that is definitely something he wants – to bridge that gap. With the teams this year, everyone is going to improve so it will be a new, exciting challenge.
“The manager is someone that I think will improve me.
“I think we will get on well together, on and off the pitch, and I am really exciting about working with him.”
The former Birmingham and MK Dons midfielder will officially sign on at Pittodrie when the Dons return for pre-season training on Friday.
He will quickly return to his home country as the Dons jet out to a training camp in the Republic of Ireland next week.
They will be based in Cork and play First Division side Cobh Ramblers on Saturday June 30. It is the start of the build-up to the Dons’ Europa League entry on July 26, in the second qualifying round.
Aberdeen were today set to discover their Euro opponents at the draw at the UEFA headquarters in Switzerland.
He said: “Europe was definitely something that myself and the manager spoke about, as it is the chance to gain a new experience.
“You want to look back and have many things you have done in your career and that (Europe) would be another.
“If I can play in European ties, it would be something I could tell my kids or grandchildren.”
Gleeson looks set to operate in a holding midfield role alongside Graeme Shinnie. Fellow new signing Forrester will fill the creative midfield void left by the exit of Kenny McLean to Norwich.
Gleeson said: “I am quite aggressive, like to pass, get on the ball and dictate play.
“If I could chip in with the odd goal, which probably hasn’t happened as much as I would want, then great.
“Most of my goals have been from outside the box and fortunately when I have scored, they have been pretty decent. It is something I can hopefully show the fans in my time here.
“It is always nice to score but if it is my team-mates scoring goals, as long as I am contributing on the pitch, it doesn’t really bother me.
“I like to make players play better around me, give them the ball and let them do what they are paid for.”
Gleeson began his career at Wolves. Following loan spells he joined MK Dons, where he made more than 200 appearances and was named in the 2011-12 League One Team of the Year.
He had three years in the Championship with Birmingham, where he starred more than 100 times before a six-month spell at Ipswich earlier this year.
He played twice for his country last summer and scored in a 3-1 friendly loss to Mexico.
“This is an exciting, new challenge as I have done the Championship,” he said.
“I have also done League One, although I never made it to the Premier League.
“When I spoke to people about the club and coming up here, everyone was positive about it. At the start it was 50-50 but the more people I talked to, the more I thought about it as an exciting challenge. I love a challenge and it was a no-brainer, in the end.”