Jonny Hayes switches to Aberdeen from Inverness

Irish winger Jonny Hayes has signed a two-year contract with Aberdeen after leaving Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

He becomes Dons manager Craig Brown's first signing of the close season.

Hayes, who joined Inverness in 2009, rejected the offer of a new one-year contract extension with the Dons' Scottish Premier League rivals.

And he said: "I think the most difficult thing I've had to do was phone the manager and actually tell him that I was leaving."

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The manager seems to think I can help the team going forward with a bit of creativity

Jonny Hayes Aberdeen winger

Hayes praised Caley Thistle boss Terry Butcher, assistant Maurice Malpas and the club's fans but revealed that it was Dons manager Brown's powers of persuasion that took him to Pittodrie.

"I think the most difficult thing I've had to do was phone the manager and actually tell him that I was leaving," Hayes said after completing a medical and signing for his new club.

"It was a wrench to leave, but as soon as I met the manager here, very similar to Terry Butcher, I just got on with him straight away and he made my mind up for me.

"It was just his love of the game and his enthusiasm to do well for Aberdeen."

Hayes had previously denied reports that he had already signed for the Dons but stressed that it was simply because the news had been premature.

Hayes was full of praise for managers Brown and Butcher

Hayes was full of praise for managers Brown and Butcher

"I'm relieved," he said while not wishing to reveal the name of other clubs interested in his services.

"It's taken some while to get things sorted out. It's been the longest summer I've ever had.

"But, as soon as I met the manager last week, we decided we'd sign."

Hayes began his career at Reading but left for Leicester City without making a first-team appearance for the Foxes after loan spells with Forest Green Rovers and Milton Keynes Dons.

He played only seven times for Leicester and was farmed out to Northampton Town and Cheltenham Town before heading for Caledonian Stadium.

Hayes, who played three times for Republic of Ireland Under-21s, made 98 appearances, scoring 25 times, for Aberdeen's Scottish Premier League rivals.

Brown sees the winger as adding much-needed width and flair to a side that scored just 36 goals in 38 league games - the lowest in the division.

"The manager seems to think I can help the team going forward with a bit of creativity and hopefully I can bring that to Aberdeen," said Hayes.

"Obviously I have spoken to players in the game and they told me the massive potential the club has."

Hayes thinks winning the Scottish Cup or League Cup and a top-six finish should be realistic targets for his new club next season.