Carlisle United Football Club can confirm that striker Sam Cosgrove has today joined Scottish Premier League side Aberdeen on a two-and-a-half year deal for an undisclosed fee.
Cosgrove, 21, scored once in his six starts and six substitute appearances for the Blues having initially made the move to Cumbria on a short-term deal at the beginning of August 2017.
He signed a second deal earlier this month, until the end of the current campaign, following his full league debut in the away game at Mansfield.
Manager Keith Curle said: “Sam was keen to make the move to the SPL and, having made sure we got the best outcome for all parties, we wish him well as he now joins Aberdeen.
“He’s a player who has progressed with us and we still feel there was more to come. He has good attributes and I know he has enjoyed his time with us. We'll be monitoring his progress.
“It took him a few months to get some of his fundamentals correct and we're disappointed that he's gone, but we wish him well. It’s now up to him to make the most of this next step.”
Explaining the deal, chief executive Nigel Clibbens said: “We were contacted by Aberdeen on Monday and they informed us that they’d reached a pre-contract agreement [during talks this week] to sign Sam in the summer [of 2018 - at the end of the current campaign].
“From Keith’s conversations with Sam, and with his agent, it was made very clear that there was absolutely no prospect of Sam staying beyond 30 June 2018. That tells us that he had his head ‘turned’ by the prospect of playing in the SPL which, obviously, includes games against the Old Firm and a number of other very good Scottish clubs, and also in Europe.
“His strong preference was for a clean break now. We talked about extending Sam’s deal, but it was made clear that the situation had come around based on the opportunity he had been presented for a move to the SPL with Aberdeen. Therefore, a new contract was not an option either.
“Faced with that inevitability we had two choices. Firstly, we could have continued with Sam as part of the Carlisle United squad for the rest of his time here. He would have stayed in competition with our other strikers and worked hard to play his part, as and when required by the manager, between now and the end of the season.
“He would have been doing this with team mates, coaching staff and fans knowing his future and commitment was elsewhere. We would then receive the prescribed training compensation applicable when he moved on to join Aberdeen.
“The alternative was to reach agreement for him to go now. As an under-24 player, Sam would also be moving across an international border. Therefore, the compensation we are due is a small, fixed sum for every year he has been with Carlisle United - that’s it. By the end of his contract, Sam would have been here for approximately 11 months. That also severely limits the fixed payment we would get.”
“With that in mind, we knew we had to consider all options and find the best outcome for the club and for the player,” he continued. “We had to balance the benefits of Sam staying here when, as we know, he clearly wants to go to the SPL, against him leaving and a deal being struck now.
“Having carefully considered the pros and cons, we reluctantly decided to agree to a transfer deal being done now. On footballing grounds, we need everyone to be focused on the games ahead and not to be looking elsewhere.
“The situation is not one we wanted, but we have sought to make the best from what we’re faced with."
Cosgrove cut his teeth with Wigan Athletic and enjoyed loan spells with Nantwich, Barrow, Chorley and North Ferriby during his time with the Latics.
He earned a professional contract when his scholarship ended at Wigan but was released at the end of the last campaign. He spent the summer on trial with the Cumbrians, impressing with his attitude and approach as he played some part in five of United’s pre-season friendly fixtures.
He made four appearances from the bench for United earlier this season before making his full debut in the Leicester City U21 Checkatrade Trophy game in October.
He scored his first goal for the club in the 1-0 home victory over Crewe, having started the previous two games, but returned to the bench last Saturday following the arrival of Cole Stockton and Kris Twardek.
The club wishes Sam Cosgrove all the very best for the future.
This transfer remains subject to the clearance of all relevant paperwork.