Aberdeen striker Sam Cosgrove has been tipped for a move to the English Premier League – by the man who rarely gave him a start in the Conference.
The 23-year-old Englishman rejected a £2.7-million move to France last week after deciding he did not fancy playing for Guingamp.
However, the fact the Dons accepted the bid in the first place is expected to lead to his departure from Pittodrie over the next couple of weeks.
“You have to think one of the clubs down here will snap him up for that sort of money,” said Steve Housham, who had Cosgrove on loan at North Ferriby United from Wigan three years ago.
“This is a lad who scored 23 goals in the Scottish top flight last season, who is only 23 years of age and who has the height and physique everyone likes in a centre-forward.
“I’d reckon someone in the top half of the Championship, or at the lower end of Premier League clubs, will take a chance on him, for sure.
“Whether that would give him the amount of game time he might be after is a different question.”
Housham had Cosgrove for 14 games at Ferriby – since folded – and gave him just three starts, using him off the substitutes’ bench on the remaining 11 occasions.
In that time, he scored no goals and made just one assist.
“I was shocked when I first heard Sam had got a move up to the Scottish Premiership, and have been amazed by how well he has done up there,” Housham continued.
“You were looking at him leaving us to go back to League One with Wigan, and I wasn’t confident he’d make the grade at that level.
“My assistant, Darryn Stamp, was another big striker, and he always said he saw something in him. But I wasn’t sure.
“He was raw and, for all he had the size, he would be kind of hesitant when he was on the pitch.
“Perhaps he wouldn’t put his head in when it looked like he might get hurt in the process.
“I have watched him plenty of times for Aberdeen on TV – I have become quite a fan of the Scottish stuff – and Sam is like a different player.
“He physically dominates opposition defences, his link-up play is great and he has such confidence in front of goal.
“You see him scoring all sorts of goals now – headers, right foot, left foot, shots he smashes in and some really-cool finishes, too.”
Housham believes Cosgrove’s development is a huge credit to Aberdeen who, he says, will deserve every penny of any fee they receive.
“They have done so well,” said, “firstly to identify Sam’s potential when he was down at Carlisle, and then to develop him into the striker he is today.
“That takes a lot of specialist coaching, and it takes a lot of encouragement.
“If we played a part at all, it would be in introducing him into the mens’ game, which is very difference from youth level.”