Aberdeen are hoping to sign Leeds United striker Ryan Edmondson in time to face Rangers in their Scottish Premiership opener tomorrow.
Dons boss Derek McInnes is searching for a new forward as leading scorer Sam Cosgrove has been ruled out for up to 10 weeks with a knee injury.
Edmondson, 19, made two appearances for English Championship winners Leeds last season, having moved to Elland Road from York in 2017.
McInnes has been forced to turn to the transfer market as Curtis Main (thigh) will not be fit to face Rangers.
The Dons boss, however, says he has every faith in youngster Bruce Anderson to lead the line if a new striker is not signed in time to face the Gers.
Cosgrove, who recently knocked back a £2.7 million move to Guingamp in France, suffered a fractured cartilage in a 1-1 friendly draw with Hibs. The striker does not require surgery.
McInnes said: “Obviously when your top goalscorer goes down on the eve of the season it is not ideal.
‘We have been looking since Saturday, really.
“Clearly we are restricted financially. We are also a wee bit restricted in terms of options.
“Half of England hasn’t really kicked a ball since March.
“We are looking at a lot of the younger boys in the Championship squads and Premier League squads in England.
“We have run up a few cul-de-sacs, but are still hoping we can maybe bring one in, if not ahead of Rangers, then hopefully next week.
“It will more than likely be a loan. Even if it was a short-term one to January to try to see us through.
“We wouldn’t ordinarily be adding to the squad, so anything that happens will be in addition to the budget. So it will be a loan or short-term deal.
“We were hopeful Curtis was going to be fit for the Rangers game, but unfortunately he won’t make it as he has a little thigh strain.
“Hopefully he won’t be out too long. But with him out and Sam long term, we are going to have to try to get someone in.”
McInnes has utilised the loan market in England successfully in previous years and took James Maddison in from Norwich City in 2016-17.
Maddison scored a memorable injury-time free-kick to defeat Rangers 2-1 at Pittodrie in September 2016.
Maddison, 23, subsequently signed for Premier League Leicester City and has been a key player for Brendan Rodgers.
Earlier this week Maddison agreed a new four-year contract with the Foxes understood to be worth £110,000 per week.
Aberdeen were facing a £10m loss due to the coronavirus pandemic but wage cuts, deferrals, season ticket sales and fresh investment have reduced that black hole to £3.8m.
However, with those projected losses the Reds were not in a position to sign any players.
Jonny Hayes was only secured because he offered to defer his wages for a year to move to Pittodrie following his exit from Celtic.
Now, with Cosgrove’s injury blow, chairman Dave Cormack has sanctioned the emergency signing of a striker.
McInnes said: “Everybody connected to the club, chairman, myself, we ask what the alternatives are.
“The chairman understands the situation we’re in, as do others at the club, and it’s up to us to put options in front of the club and see if we can get a deal done.”
A compilation of Edmondson in youth team action:
Earlier this month Cosgrove, who scored 23 goals last season, knocked back the move to French second-tier side Guingamp that would have been worth more to the Dons with add-ons.
Although sidelined until October, McInnes feared his top scorer could have been ruled out longer.
The manager said: “It’s a blow. It’s also disappointing for Sam because he’s keen to start the season well and continue his scoring. But for us as a club we need to deal with it.
“Sam got injured on Saturday after about 10 minutes.
“As is often the case, it was an innocuous thing as he got his studs caught in the turf near the halfway line.
“We got a scan and the results came back on Tuesday evening. We thought it was going to be worse.
“It was good news he is only going to be out for eight to 10 weeks, as we think it might be.
“It might be a touch longer than that, but he won’t need an operation.
“We thought that was going to be inevitable based on how Sam was feeling.
“He has a fracture in his cartilage which has to heal naturally. With these injuries, it can vary by a matter of weeks depending on the individual and type of fracture.”
Anderson is the only fit senior striker at Pittodrie and has been impressive in pre-season having netted three times in friendlies.
McInnes has faith in the 21-year-old who netted a late equaliser against Rangers in the opening game of the 2018-19 season. However, he needs more options should anything happen to Anderson.
He said: “Bruce has been fantastic throughout pre-season and it’s not to say he wouldn’t have been in and around it anyway.
“What we don’t have is the real luxury of being able to change things at the top end of the pitch if anything was to happen to Bruce.
“That’s why we’ll look at trying to get a striker in before Saturday and if not then look at it after the game.
“Bruce hasn’t missed a beat through pre-season, has trained every day, and scored a few goals in the friendlies. He’s going into the game feeling good about himself.
“He’s managed to score against Rangers in the past and hopefully he can remember that and go into the game confident as he should be.”