The 24-year-old joined Hamburger SV in 2018 from Rangers but has been limited to just 28 appearances, all coming during the 2018/19 season in the German second tier.
He joined Sheffield Wednesday on loan in August 2019 but started just one match – an EFL Cup win against Rotherham United – before suffering a hip flexor injury that sidelined him for an extended period.
Bates then tried his luck at Belgian side Cercle Brugge last season but despite the loan arrangement including an option to buy, the Groen en Zwart did not activate the clause and he returned to Nordrhein-Westfalen.
But despite returning to Hamburg, it was reported that Bates effectively had next to no chance of ever featuring for Die Rotenhosen again.
It is understood that a club made contact with Bates over a proposed move but the money on offer was not enough to convince the Fife-born player to take things further.
But now Aberdeen have reportedly struck a deal to bring Bates back to Scotland, according to the Daily Record, with a three-year deal mooted. Dons boss Stephen Glass is in need of defensive options with Andy Considine facing up to four months on the sidelines.
Hearts were also credited with an interest but are on the cusp of completing a deal for centre-back Taylor Moore.
Bates is under contract until the summer of 2022 but currently training with the Under-21 squad and was blocked from playing for the club’s B team in the Regionalliga Nord.
The former Raith Rovers youngster is living at the Mercure Hotel am Volkspark near the club’s training base, according to German publication BILD.
BILD believes Hamburg will let Bates leave on a free transfer but without a severance package, as afforded to two recent players Gideon Jung, who joined Greuther Fürth, and Kahled Narey, who eventually joined Fortuna Düsseldorf, with legendary Hamburg fan Helm-Peter Dietz telling the publication: “I’ve never seen such a sad player. Everyone here gets a severance payment and can leave. Not him – that’s not how you should treat people.”