DEREK McInnes last night expressed his happiness at landing Dylan McGeouch at the fourth time of asking and predicted the midfielder can fill the void in his midfield left by the departures of Ryan Jack and Kenny McLean.

McGeouch signed a two-and-a-half year contract with the Pittodrie club this week and has travelled with his new team mates to their winter training camp here in Dubai.

Speaking from their Jebel Ali base, McInnes revealed he had been frustrated in his efforts to bring in the former Celtic, Hibernian and Sunderland player on numerous occasions in the past.

“He’s always a player I’ve admired and I tried to get him on a few times previously,” he said. "It didn’t happen for whatever reason, but now we’ve got him.

“I almost got him in a swap deal when Neil Lennon was at Hibs. I tried to bring him from Hibs again when he was out of contract before he went to Sunderland and we felt close, but Sunderland won out because Dylan was keen to make his mark in England. And then I tried again in the summer.

“His circumstances changed and he was frustrated and wanted to play more, but the new Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson wanted to come in and make his own mark on the team and make a few changes. This was probably the best opportunity for me to get him.”

Aberdeen’s season has been blighted by injuries and McInnes, whose team returned to action with a William Hill Scottish Cup game against Dumbarton a week today, feels McGeouch will make a real difference in the centre of the park.

“He knows the league, he knows what is expected of him and that he’s working for a manager who believes in him,” he said. “What he’ll bring to us is a confidence in possession, he has that last pass in him and that creative side as well. He brings experience and capability we’ve lacked in there as a result of injuries.

“I think he is a capable player. I love how he handles the ball, his ability to make that last pass for you in a creative sense. I like the way he operates. He gets about his business, gravitates about the pitch, keeps you in possession and has that quality in possession.

“I have always had Ryan Jack of Kenny McLean in there to control things. Having the injuries we have had this season at times we have not had that real controlling midfield player. I think Dylan can help bring that to my team, a calmness in possession, a quality in possession.

“And he is still a good age. He has managed to play for a few different clubs now. But in his last spell in Scottish football I thought he was part of a Hibs midfield that was very impressive.”

McInnes also confirmed that Aberdeen had held talks with St Johnstone winger Matty Kennedy over a pre-contract agreement and was optimistic of securing the services of the Northern Ireland-born player.

“Matty is one we are looking at for a pre-contract for the summer,” he said. ‘I spoke to Tommy (St Johnstone manager Wright), spoke to Matty’s agent and I’ve since spoken to Matty. We are hopeful we can maybe agree a pre-contract, but that’s really for the summer."

Asked if he thought Kennedy could join in January, McInnes added: “We would need to agree a contract first. But that is entirely up to St Johnstone really. He is their player, he is one for the summer. But we are hopeful we can make one or two more signings.

"The budget is stretched at the minute, but we have four injuries. Scott Wright is long-term till April, Craig Bryson just had his operation two days ago, he is out for six weeks. Greig Leigh has a stress fracture and is still in a boot and will be out for another six or seven weeks and Zac Vyner will be out for six weeks with a shoulder injury.

“So we have four out a squad which, with those kind of numbers, becomes pretty stretched. Hopefully we can still get one or two things done. But I’m pleased we managed to get Dylan done so early.”