When the transfer window closes tonight, it remains to be seen whether Sam Cosgrove will still be a Pittodrie player.
The 21-goal striker has been talked about frequently during this frantic month, with English Championship sides like Derby County and Stoke City interested, as well as Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls.
Yorkshireman Cosgrove’s ascent in a year or so, from a £25,000 prospect signed from Carlisle to the Dons’ crucial source of goals, has made richer teams take notice.
Gothenburg Great Eric Black worked with the then-teenage Cosgrove – who is now 23 – while coaching at Blackburn Rovers around 2012. And he’s not been surprised in the slightest.
Black said: “He’s got a lot about him and he’s got a really good knowledge of the game.
“He’s still young and I think you get better as you get older, no question.
“I still don’t think he’s finished. There’s more to come from big Sam.
“As I’ve said before, there’s nobody who deserves it more, is more hard working, who listens to professionals and tries to progress.
“I wish him every success. Hopefully Aberdeen can hang on to him for a wee while longer.”
Despite the indifferent season Aberdeen have had as a team, it’s difficult to lay any responsibility for that at Cosgrove’s feet.
He netted four times over two Europa League qualifying games against Chikhura Sachkhere, before the Reds’ campaign ended at the hands of Rijeka in the next round.
Cosgrove also scored twice in the 2-2 Tynecastle League Cup draw, with Aberdeen then going out on penalties.
He netted in a 2-1 Premiership loss at Parkhead, before a somewhat unjust red card.
Asked whether Cosgrove has the belief and talent to reach the likes of the Champions League, Black said: “That’s the humbleness of the man. I don’t see why not (he can’t reach the Champions League).
“Football can go really quickly nowadays and somebody who scores goals is at a premium.
“He’s a big powerful boy who’ll listen and is desperate to improve regardless of the company he’s in.
“I wish him every success and I hope that’s the case.”
Dons legend Black, who scored 70 times for the club in the trophy-laden golden period of the 1980s, including the opener in the Cup Winners’ Cup final, still hopes to see more of Cosgrove in an Aberdeen shirt.
He said: “I hope we manage to keep him until at least the end of the season or longer. But you can’t stop progress in football and players who score goals are at a premium anywhere.”
Black was back in Aberdeen in November to be inducted into the Aberdeen hall of fame, and to help open Cruyff Court Neale Cooper in Torry. Many of the Gothenburg Greats were there, as well as fans, young and old.
Black finds the enduring legacy of Alex Ferguson’s teams’ achievements heartening and said: “It’s been sustained by various bits and pieces over the years. It’s nice – life goes on, the football club goes on and Aberdeen have their heroes of today.
“But it’s nice to recognise the past and what happened, which was a phenomenal achievement.”
One thing which is certainly different for modern Dons is having a state-of-the-art training ground at Cormack Park.
Black believes the facility, also opened at the end of 2019, will prove an asset in bridging the cash gap to Celtic and Rangers.
“It’s expected (facilities), most of the clubs in England have a high, high level,” said Black – who has bossed, as permanent manager or caretaker, Motherwell, Coventry City, Sunderland and Aston Villa, among others.
“As players start to circulate, as they do quickly in modern football, they come to expect certain things – whether it be the training ground, the rehabilitation, the physios, the kitchen, what they eat, the dietician.
“It becomes a normal part of football.
“I know the boys are exceptionally professionally so it only adds to removing excuses.
“There’s no reason for players not to perform if you can provide facilities for them to improve.”