New Aberdeen signing David Bates insists he is now a far better player than during his time at Premiership rivals Rangers.
Centre-back Bates signed on at Pittodrie on a three-year contract from German Bundesliga 2 side SV Hamburg.
Bates’ transfer was confirmed just three hours before Aberdeen kicked-off the 1-1 Premiership draw with Ross County at Pittodrie.
The defender watched the action from the side-lines as the Dons waited on his international clearance.
Bates is set to make his debut in the away league clash at Motherwell on Saturday September 11 following the international break.
The 24-year-old played 30 times for Rangers, with 28 starts, before transferring to the fallen German giants in summer 2018.
Since leaving Ibrox three years ago, Bates made an international breakthrough, earning four Scotland caps.
He was also a regular for Hamburg in the German second flight in his debut season and enjoyed a loan spell with Cercle Bruges in the Belgian top flight last season.
He insists Aberdeen have landed a superior player to the one that exited Ibrox.
Bates said: “I went over to Germany in the first year and played a lot and changed as a player.
“People have said I have got a lot better and improved my game.
“Hopefully I can show that in the games coming up.”
🆕 | Welcome to Aberdeen @DavidBates_.
🔴 Dons sign defender David Bates on a three year deal from @HSV.
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) August 29, 2021
Bates aims to enjoy football again
Bates enjoyed a superb first season in Germany with the six-time Bundesliga champions and 1983 European Cup/Champions League winners.
However, the defender suffered an ankle ligament injury in a Bundesliga 2 clash against Paderborn in May 2019 that ruled him out for two months.
There was further disappointment to come as Hamburg missed out on promotion back to the top flight on the final day of that season.
Hamburg had suffered the ignominy of relegation the previous campaign for the first time in the club’s illustrious history.
The ramifications of missing out on an automatic return to the top flight were enormous.
The budget for the new campaign was slashed, along with the management team.
Having been a first-team regular under boss Hannes Wolf in his debut season, Bates was put out on loan to Sheffield Wednesday by new manager Dietar Hecking.
The defender started just one match for the Owls – an EFL Cup win against Rotherham United – before suffering a hip flexor injury that sidelined him for an extended period.
There would follow a season-long loan in the Belgian top flight in the 2020-21 season.
Bates said: “It is really important for me to try to settle somewhere and enjoy football again.
“I want to kick on and have a good few years.”
Talks with Stephen Glass key to transfer
Bates was the latest addition in a hectic week for Aberdeen in the transfer window, which shuts at midnight on Tuesday.
Prior to the defender’s arrival, boss Stephen Glass had already landed Marley Watkins on a permanent two-year deal, while also securing season-long loan moves for Matty Longstaff (Newcastle United) and Austin Samuels (Wolves).
Striker Samuels and England U20 international midfielder Longstaff both made starting debuts against Ross County, while Watkins came off the bench.
Bates revealed a conversation with Glass where the manager laid out his plans for the future and the style of football he intends to utilise were key to his decision to join Aberdeen.
He said: “I had heard really good things about the manager.
“When I spoke to him, what he said about how he wants to play really suits me down to a tee.
“That was a big pull.”
Zur Meldung ➡ https://t.co/IlGIjaYldb
— Hamburger SV (@HSV) August 29, 2021
Bates ready to go against Motherwell
Bates has not played since a 3-0 league defeat of O-H Leuven in the Belgian top flight on April 10.
He insists he is fit and ready to make his debut from the start if required against Motherwell in the Reds’ next match.
The current international break also allows the centre-back extra time to gel with his new team-mates in training before that debut.
He said: “I have been training for the last few weeks and itching to get something sorted somewhere.
“I am just glad to be at Aberdeen.
“With the international break, I will get in with the boys in training and be ready to go.”