Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes insists new signing Dylan McGeouch will control games like Scotland internationals Ryan Jack and Kenny McLean.
Having coveted McGeouch’s signature for a number of years, McInnes landed the 26-year-old on the eve of the trip to Dubai.
McInnes is confident he has landed a player who can dictate games on a two-and-a-half-year deal from Sunderland.
He accepts that was needed following the exit of McLean to Norwich City and Jack to Rangers.
McGeouch is set to make his Aberdeen debut today against Jordanian top flight side Al Wehdat in Dubai.
McInnes said: “Dylan brings confidence in possession and has that last pass in him as well as that creative part where he sees things. That is important.
“Dylan controls games and he knows how to play his position.
“We have had Ryan Jack and Kenny McLean play in there and brought in Funso Ojo to play something similar in terms of controlling games.
“I think Dylan and Funso will enjoy playing alongside one another.”
McGeouch signed on at Aberdeen having not featured for Sunderland since November.
However, the week-long training camp in Dubai proved to the Dons hierarchy the midfielder is fully fit and sharp.
Which means McGeouch is ready to make a starting debut in the Scottish Cup tie with Dumbarton at Pittodrie on Saturday.
McInnes attempted to land the midfielder in the 2018 summer window but he opted to move from Hibernian to Sunderland.
He resurrected that interest last season but McGeouch decided to remain at the Stadium of Light.
McInnes said: “Dylan is a player I have tried to get in the past.
“Even before last season I tried to do a swap deal for Dylan when Neil Lennon was the manager at Hibs.
“I have always admired him.
“I remember going to watch Ryan Jack play for the Scotland U21s and Dylan catching my eye on two or three occasions.
“He has always been a player I enjoy watching and Dylan handles the ball well.
“Dylan has good experience and real confidence in possession – hopefully the frustration he has had in the last season or so will give him that added incentive to perform and push himself on.”
McGeouch is the first signing of a January transfer window in which McInnes hopes to land a few more additions.
Although McInnes has wanted to land McGeouch for a sustained period, the move was driven by a perfect storm of two factors.
Aberdeen were suffering injury problems with Craig Bryson out for six weeks following ankle surgery.
Defenders Zak Vyner (shoulder) and Greg Leigh (fractured tibia) had been utilised recently in midfield but are both out for up to two months.
While the Dons squad was stretched, McGeouch was also frustrated at Sunderland.
In the final year of his contract he was also free to talk to other clubs from the opening of the transfer window on January 1.
McInnes made his move.
He said: “When we put a squad together in the summer we would normally play with three midfielders.
“We would have hoped that Bryson, Ojo and Lewis Ferguson would be that three.
“When we have all three operating at their level that is a very strong three.
“We knew that young Dean Campbell was there to come in and out and get those bits of experience.
“We didn’t want to stifle Dean’s development and didn’t want to have one too many in that midfield.
“However, what was shown is that when you get a couple of injuries in the same area of the pitch it can affect you.
“This season we have been at least one midfielder short every game, sometimes two.
“We have had to play defenders in there and play a certain way to cope as best as we can when without two key players for us.
“Based on the difficulties we have had it seemed imperative to me and vitally important that we brought in another midfielder.”
However, McInnes did not just want any midfielder to boost squad numbers.
He wanted quality – and he reckons McGeouch delivers on that wish.
McInnes said: “It was not just another midfielder to come in and supplement numbers.
“Dylan is a player who has real quality and hopefully that will show every game for us.
“Thankfully Funso is also back up and running for us.”