It was vital to Aberdeen’s stuttering season that a goal scorer was signed before the January transfer window shut.
The Dons are creating chances, but are not converting them, as they registered a second 0-0 draw in just four days and the fourth stalemate in eight games when they travelled to Livingston on Saturday.
A solution could be Scotland Under-21 cap Fraser Hornby, who is set to join on loan from French top-tier side Reims. This comes just six months after Reims splashed out £1.7 million to land the 21-year-old from Everton.
The all-time leading scorer for the U21s, Hornby has the pedigree to hit the ground running at Aberdeen and deliver the cutting edge they are crying out for.
Reims rate Hornby highly and view the striker, who still has three-and-a-half years left on his contract, as one for the future. But they want him to get regular first-team action on loan in a competitive league.
There is no option for Aberdeen to buy Hornby at the end of the season, so the need to secure a goal-scorer will now transfer on to the summer transfer window.
Proven goal-scorers do not come cheap as they are a much wanted commodity and clubs do not want to part with them.
As Aberdeen yet again fired blanks in front of goal, top scorer for the previous season Sam Cosgrove was down in Birmingham watching his new club from the stands, having passed a medical as they drew 1-1 with Coventry City.
The Pittodrie board obviously have to safeguard the future of the club by offsetting the brutal multi-million pound losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, there will be real frustration that the Reds have taken in £5m in transfer fees this season yet the vast bulk of that cash will go towards fire-fighting the Covid-19 financial black-hole and not be reinvested in the squad.
Aberdeen secured a club record fee of £3m from Nottingham Forest, which could rise to £5m with achievable add-ons, for Scott McKenna in September followed by Cosgrove’s £2m transfer. Balancing the books is vital, but the other balance must be in maintaining that is not at the cost of the squad strength and ability to compete and earn prize money.
With Cosgrove in Birmingham and Curtis Main out with a thigh injury, Bruce Anderson, recently recalled from a loan spell at Ayr United, was the only senior striker available. However, boss Derek McInnes left him on the bench and showed faith in Connor McLennan.
McLennan was lively in that role and was denied a goal only by the woodwork when his header hit the bar.
However, over the course of the game, he only managed the one effort and 18 touches.
When he came on, Anderson failed to take the chance to strengthen his argument to start up front, with just one effort, too.
The 22-year-old had the chance to prove his point with a clear header in front of goal in injury time, but forced it wide in one of just four touches.
Both attackers managed a combine four touches in the Livi area.
There was no compelling argument that had Cosgrove and Main both been available the stalemate would have been broken either, though. Cosgrove and Main have netted only three times each this term.
In netting 20-plus goals in each of the previous two seasons though, Cosgrove is a proven goal-scorer. There was always the potential for him to hit the goal trail.
However, securing £2m for a player who was unknown and cost £30,000 from Carlisle – and had only 18 months left on his deal – constitutes a great return.