Every now and again a transfer will happen that will leave you scratching your head; wondering what the hell just happened – Julian Faubert to Real Madrid, Carlos Tevez & Javier Mascherano to West Ham and Sol Campbell to Notts County some prime examples – and let’s be honest we love them. On the January 2018 Transfer Deadline Day another name got added to that list – but you probably missed it.
On 1st August 2017 Carlisle United signed a 20 year old free agent striker by the name of Sam Cosgrove on a deal until 1st January. He was released by Wigan Athletic that summer without making a first team appearance, and having spent time on loan at Barrow, Chroley and North Ferriby United he had somewhat underwhelming career statistics at the time of signing – 20 games played, 0 goals scored. To say he wasn’t met with a parade would be an understatement.
The impact Cosgrove had on the Carlisle squad was… seemingly non-existent. He made 6 substitute appearances for a total of 47 minutes between August and December before starting his first game for the club against Mansfield Town on the last day of his contract, and his career goals statistic still sat at 0. (He did make 2 starts with 0 goals in the Checkatrade Trophy but I won’t acknowledge that as a competition and neither should you.) The start had come as a huge surprise to the vast majority of Carlisle fans, and had he been released after his contract was up no one would have batted an eyelid.
But on 2nd January it was announced that Cosgrove would be staying with the club until the end of the season – a bit of shock transfer news in it’s own right. He played in 4 of the next 5 games, starting 3 and scoring his first career goal in a 1-0 win at home to Crewe Alexandra. Things were looking bright, Carlisle had a striker who seemed to be coming in to a bit of form and it would be like a new signing for the club. But on 30th January the rumour mill started churning and it was revealed SPL outfit Aberdeen were interested in the youngster – apparently they were in the summer too but decided against signing him.
This wasn’t a prolonged transfer saga like those of Alexis Sanchez or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – we get down to business in the lower leagues. At 19:01 on 31st January it was announced Aberdeen had got their man and Sam Cosgrove was making the (short) journey north of the border. The reported fee was £40,000.
£40,000 may not seem like a lot in the current transfer market but for a lower league club to get any fee for a player is a pleasant surprise. It’s more surprising when that player has only made 4 starts for a team. And even more surprising when that player is a striker with 1 career goal to his name. And even even more surprising when the player could have been had on a free transfer just 29 days earlier. £40,000 for a player who had only played 394 minutes – a whopping £101.52 per minute (and £40,000 per goal scored but I don’t think you needed me to work that one out).
So here’s to Sam Cosgrove, the latest addition to the hopefully never ending list of bizarre transfers.