Stephen Gleeson insists the instant rapport he has developed with manager Derek McInnes convinced him it was time for a new challenge in Scottish football with Aberdeen.
The 29-year-old midfielder has signed a two-year deal with the Dons and becomes manager McInnes’s third summer signing following the arrival of fellow midfielders Lewis Ferguson from Hamilton and Chris Forrester from Peterborough United.
Despite not having met his new boss Gleeson has been hugely impressed with the sales pitch from the Dons boss.
He said: “He is one of the most impressive managers I’ve spoken to on the phone. I haven’t met him yet but he was really ambitious in terms of how he sold the club and everything he wanted to do this year really made the finally decision for me to come up here.
“He is someone who will improve me and I think we will get on well on and off the pitch.
“I knew of the interest two months ago and I watched the final game of the season against Celtic and they were really impressive. Obviously I know when Sir Alex was here how successful they were and over the past few years they have been Celtic’s biggest rivals.
“It’s definitely a challenge coming up here but speaking to the manager he wants to bridge that gap and with all the teams improving it is going to be a big challenge.
The former Ipswich Town player was undecided about whether to leave English football for a new opportunity in Scotland but has done his research about his new club and his new home and turned to new team-mate Adam Rooney for some insight on life at Pittodrie.
He said: “I was 50-50 at the start but the more people I talked to and the more I thought it about it the more I realised it’s an exciting challenge and it was a no-brainer in the end.
“Adam Rooney and I go back 16 years. We played against each other and together at schoolboy level and have played at under-age Ireland games. I know Adam well.
I’m my own man but I did want to speak to people as it’s a massive change playing up here so I did speak to him (Adam) a little and it will be good to have that friendly face around the place. It will be nice to catch up with him after all those years.”
Gleeson, who has been capped four times by the Republic of Ireland, is also excited at the prospect of making his European debut next month. The Dons will discover their Europa League second qualifying round opponents today and Gleeson is eager to play his part.
He said: “When the manager and I spoke I realised it was a new challenge and something I haven’t done before. I want to look back and be able to say to my kids I played in Europe and hopefully I’ll get that chance here.”