Derek McInnes faces the biggest-ever test of his wheeler-dealer skills in the weeks and months ahead.
Tommy Wright believes the Aberdeen manager will need to somehow replicate his “magic trick” with Sam Cosgrove for the Dons to have a successful season.
The 23-year-old striker had only scored one goal in his senior career when he moved to Pittodrie in January, 2018 from League Two side, Carlisle United.
Since then, thanks to the specialist coaching from McInnes and his staff, Cosgrove has thrived.
He has scored 44 times in 87 appearances – including 23 last season – to fire himself to the brink of a seven-figure move.
“Derek has done brilliantly at Aberdeen, but this will be a big season for him,” said Wright, who shared a friendly rivalry with McInnes during his St Johnstone years.
“The financial losses they have been making in the shutdown have been well documented.
“And the other week, I saw Derek had to come out and admit they are going to have to cash in on Cosgrove.
“That will be on their terms, which is important because he will need money to re-invest in the team.
“It is unfortunate for Derek that has to come through the sale of his main striker.
“So it will be vital for him, firstly, to get the right money for Cosgrove and, secondly, to hold on to Lewis Ferguson and Scott McKenna, especially with Mikey Devlin being out for the first part of the season.
“Derek is well equipped to have another good season, but those players will be the key for them.”
Wright has zero doubt the Aberdeen boss will be on top of the situation.
“Derek is a guy who always had his finger on the pulse, in terms of what he needs for his team with recruitment,” he said.
“He is someone who always gets the best out of his players. You can’t get to all these cup finals, and deliver all these top-three finishes, without having a manager who knows the game.
“Tactically, he is very astute.
“In the games at Pittodrie, they have to play at certain way.
“They are a big club, one with high expectations, so they have to play on the front foot. Maybe more, say, than what I would have done at St Johnstone.
“The addition of Jonny Hayes in this window – and Matty Kennedy back In January – should help with that because they are exciting players, the type fans love to see.”
If only from the comfort of their own sitting rooms for now.
The 2020-21 season will kick off behind closed doors, which is a shame, not least because the schedule has thrown up an Aberdeen-Rangers clash – always one of the Scottish game’s liveliest encounters – for the opening day.
“It is quite a start,” said Wright with a chuckle. “There is huge rivalry between the two of them, for sure. There is not much love lost.
“And so to have them kicking it all off – behind closed doors as well – is certainly intriguing.”
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe