Why Stoke City shouldn’t hesitate to splash out £4 million for Sam Cosgrove
New Stoke City boss Michael O’Neill has identified Cosgrove as a potential transfer target in a bid to fire the club away from the relegation zone in the EFL Championship but Aberdeen are set to play hardball over any negotiations involving a move for their star striker, The Scottish Sun understands.
The Dons are under no real pressure to part ways with the 22-year-old, who is under contract at the Pittodrie Stadium until 2022. Stoke City could have their work cut out to bring Cosgrove back to English football, with a daunting price tag hanging over his head.
Cosgrove, who moved north of the border to Aberdeen from Carlisle United for a paltry £25,000 last year in January, has proven to be a massive bargain for the Scottish Premiership side.
The Beverley-born striker struggled to make a big impact at his boyhood club Wigan Athletic and spent time on loan at several non-league outfits, including Barrow and North Ferriby United, over the course of his ill-fated spell in England. However, he has progressed by leaps and bounds since his move to Aberdeen in January 2018.
Having bagged as many as 21 goals in 44 appearances for the Dons in all competitions in the previous campaign, Cosgrove looks well on course to registering an even better tally this time around.
The 22-year-old has already racked up 9 goals in 14 Scottish Premiership outings so far while boasting of an overall tally of 18 goals in 22 appearances across all competitions.
Indeed, those numbers make for some eye-watering readings on paper and Stoke City’s interest in Sam Cosgrove does look justified for a number of reasons, starting from their position at the bottom of the standings to the failures of the striking options at the club.
The Potters looked set for a resurgence under new boss O’Neill following back-to-back wins against Barnsley and Wigan but consecutive defeats at the hands of Cardiff City and Blackburn have once brought them crashing down to the relegation zone in the Championship.
Having scored just 20 goals and conceded 33 at a dismal goal difference of -13, it hardly takes a professional analyst to figure out that the Potters are presently crying out for reinforcements at both ends of the pitch.
Clean-sheets have been hard to come by and with lack of goals also becoming a major cause of concern, O’Neill surely has his work cut out heading into the transfer window in January.
Scott Hogan arrived on loan from Aston Villa back in the summer while Lee Gregory was also roped in on a free transfer from Millwall to bolster the attack and cover for the departure of Benik Afobe, who joined Bristol City on loan.
However, the Potters might have to dip into the market once again for a new striker in January, with Gregory and Hogan only scoring three apiece in the Championship so far and Sam Vokes yet to find the net.
Besides their obvious struggles at the back, Stoke have lacked that clinical edge in front of goal, with neither of the strikers doing enough to help out the team.
To that end, securing a deal for an in-form striker like Sam Cosgrove in January would go a long way towards helping the Potters improve on a dismal scoring record and, possibly, avoid the ignominy of relegation to the third-tier.
Notwithstanding the fact that Cosgrove failed to cut the mustard in English football earlier in his career, he has looked like a completely different player over the past 12 months since his move to Aberdeen. At 22, Stoke City shouldn’t hesitate to offer him a second chance to prove his worth.
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Having said that, Stoke City have no reason to drop their interest in Sam Cosgrove, given that he could be the difference between survival and relegation in the Championship.