Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes’ patient pursuit of Caley Thistle defender Graeme Shinnie was rewarded yesterday when the 23-year agreed a pre-contract agreement to move to the Pittodrie club at the end of the season.
The Aberdeen-born left back was a transfer target last summer, but the clubs could not agree a fee for the defender, who has been captaining the Highlanders this season in the absence of the injured Richie Foran.
But McInnes has got his man and Shinnie will move to Pittodrie in June on a three-year contract.
Inverness manager John Hughes had expected the defender to move to England when his contract ran out in the summer.
Championship club Birmingham City, who have Shinnie’s older brother Andrew on their books, had also been tracking the Inverness player’s progress this season with manager Gary Rowett confirming his interest in December.
Shinnie has been at Caley Thistle since 2009 and has made more than 160 appearances, and has been capped twice for Scotland under-21s.
A product of the youth system at Caley Jags, he made his debut for the club at the age of 17 and has established himself as a first team regular at Caledonian Stadium.
The arrival of the 23-year-old, who will celebrate his 24th birthday in August, represents a major coup for the Don who have landed one of the most sought after free agents in Scottish football.
The Dons may try to complete a deal during the January transfer window to avoid having to wait until the end of the season.
If a deal can be struck and Shinnie moves to Aberdeen this week he would be eligible to play in Saturday’s League Cup semi-final against Dundee United as he is not cup-tied for Inverness.
Shinnie missed the Highlanders’ defeat to Rangers at Ibrox on September 16 due to suspension.
The left back berth has been an area manager McInnes has been keen to improve since arriving at the club in March 2013 with youth team graduate Clark Robertson failing to feature regularly due to injury.
Central defender Andy Considine has played there regularly this season but with captain Russell Anderson and fellow central defender Ashton Taylor both out injured he returned to central defence in Friday’s 1-1 draw at St Johnstone.
Shinnie’s former Caley Jags team-mate Jonny Hayes played at full back in Considine’s place.