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The biggest fees Aberdeen have received for players – as Sam Cosgrove looks set for £2 million move to Birmingham City

Aberdeen forward Sam Cosgrove and Motherwell's Bevis Mugabi.
Aberdeen forward Sam Cosgrove and Motherwell's Bevis Mugabi.

Aberdeen could be set to receive their second biggest fee for a player if Sam Cosgrove’s move to English Championship Birmingham City goes through as expected today.

It’s understood Brum have table a £2 million offer to land the forward, who has been the subject of constant speculation after scoring 47 goals in 103 games for the Dons.

Reds chief Dave Cormack will be rubbing his hands at the prospect of making a huge profit on the paltry fee paid to Carlisle United for Cosgrove’s services on January deadline day three years ago.

In the time since, Cosgrove has gone from being an untested player at senior level to a forward who has hit 20 goals two seasons running.

However, the deal would also leave Aberdeen scrambling to replace their top striker, with Curtis Main and Bruce Anderson the only recognised forwards who would be left at the club.

Should the deal for Cosgrove, who has only managed one goal from open play – three goals overall – this season following his return from a knee injury in pre-season, go through for £2m, it would be the second-highest fee the Dons have received for a player in the club’s 117-year history.

Here are the top ten fees as things stand:

1. Scott McKenna – Nottingham Forest £3m
Scott McKenna.

Scott McKenna completed his move to English Championship Nottingham Forest in September, netting Aberdeen the biggest transfer fee they’ve ever received for a player.

The Scottish international centre-back’s future had been the subject of much speculation since he cemented his place in Derek McInnes’ team around three years ago, with interest from Aston Villa, Queens Park Rangers and Celtic, to name but a few of the 24-year-old youth academy product’s suitors.

Villa famously proposed a loan-to-buy arrangement which could’ve netted the Reds £7 million during the 2018/19 season.

However, the Reds finally agreed to part with McKenna for £3m, although the deal they reached with Forest means the fee could go up to £5m, if the defender satisfies certain requirements.

It is also understood Aberdeen have a sell-on clause inserted in the Scotland international’s four-year contract at the City Ground.

Since moving to Forest, who are near the bottom of the Championship, McKenna has made 15 appearances.

2. Eoin Jess – Coventry £1.75m
Eoin Jess, left.

Hall of famer Jess broke into the Dons first team for the 1989 League Cup Final win against Rangers, aged 19. He is quite possibly the most-talented product of the club’s academy.

In 1996, after six seasons as Aberdeen’s key source of creativity and goals, fans’ favourite Jess got his big move to Premier League Coventry. However, having failed to get a regular run of starts, the Portsoy-raised Scotland international attacker was back at Pittodrie for a second spell in 1997, with the Reds paying £650,000 to secure his return.

3. Stephen Wright – Rangers £1.5m

Wright came through the youth academy and was a regular at right-back for Aberdeen between 1990 and 1995.

Aberdeen defender Stephen Wright struggles to keep his footing at Pittodrie against Dunfermline.

However, after moving to Ibrox, his career stalled and never really got going again, despite subsequent moves to Bradford, Dundee United and Scunthorpe.

4. Jonny Hayes – Celtic £1.3m

Hayes, 33, is back at Aberdeen for a second spell after three years at champions Celtic.

Jonny Hayes.

When the Hoops paid more than a million pounds for Hayes in 2017, he had enjoyed a reasonably successful five-year term at Pittodrie under Derek McInnes, winning the League Cup in 2014 and coming so close to winning the Scottish Cup over Celtic in the last game before his move to Parkhead, scoring the opener in a crushing 2-1 final defeat.

5. Russell Anderson – Sunderland £1m

Like Hayes and Jess, Anderson returned to Pittodrie after his big move away, which was the Reds’ first £1m fee received.

In Scotland cap Anderson’s case, his move to England with Sunderland came in 2007 after a decade in the Dons first team.

Russell Anderson, centre, during his first Aberdeen spell.

The centre-half was unfortunately plagued by injuries in three years at the then-Premier League Black Cats, before he returned to semi-regular action in a season with Championship Derby County, despite continued injury issues.

Craig Brown brought him back to captain Aberdeen in 2011 and he lifted the League Cup as skipper under McInnes in 2014.

6. David Robertson – Rangers £970,000

Aberdonian Robertson came through at Pittodrie and commanded the Dons left-back slot from 1986 to 1991 alongside iconic centre-back duo Willie Miller and Alex McLeish.

David Robertson.

In 1991, following Aberdeen’s final day Premier Division heartbreak at Ibrox, Robertson completed a move to Rangers, where he spent six championship-winning seasons before a injury-riddled four-year spell at Leeds United.

7. Steve Archibald – Spurs £800,000

Archibald scored 46 goals in 110 games for Aberdeen in a spell which coincided with the first title of the Alex Ferguson era.

Aberdeen’s Steve Archibald in action.

After that Premier Division win, the 27-cap Scotland striker moved to Tottenham, where he was similarly prolific, winning two FA Cups and the UEFA Cup.

He went on to play for Barcelona in the 1986 European Cup final, as well as a host of other clubs at home and abroad.

7. Craig Hignett – Barnsley £800,000

After semi-successful spells at Crewe and Middlesbrough, midfielder Hignett joined Aberdeen on a Bosman in 1998.

However, he only lasted six months (15 appearances, two goals) at Pittodrie before he left for Barnsley in an £800,000 move.

Craig Hignett in action for Aberdeen.

A decent fee given the circumstances.

8. Joe Miller – Celtic £650,000
Joe Miller in 1985.

Youth academy product Miller was a regular in Alex Ferguson’s Reds team at 18 and was only 19 when he left Aberdeen for Celtic in 1987. The £650,000 the Hoops paid for his services was a Scottish record and the highest fee paid for a teenager.

The striker-winger spent six years at Parkhead, before returning to Aberdeen for a second spell in the 90s. All in all, Miller – who played until he was 40 in the lower leagues – made 264 Dons appearance, scoring 47 times.

8. Stephen Glass – Newcastle United £650,000

Dundonian left winger Glass won the Skol League Cup in 1995 at the age of 19, famously winning a mountain bike for his performance in the 2-0 final win over Dundee.

Stephen Glass in action for Aberdeen.

Glass moved to Premier League Newcastle after 131 senior Reds appearances. He went on to play for Watford, Hibs, Dunfermline and the Carolina RailHawks in the United States.

He had a spell in charge of Aberdeen’s strategic partners Atlanta United last year.

9. Lee Miller – Middlesbrough £600,000

Striker Miller joined Jimmy Calderwood’s Aberdeen on a free transfer from Dundee United as a seasoned professional in 2006, and spent three-and-a-half seasons at the club, scoring 33 goals, before he joined Gordon Strachan’s Middlesbrough in February 2010.

Lee Miller in his Aberdeen days.

After spells at the likes of Carlisle and Livingston, he is currently co-manager of boyhood club Falkirk, where he had three separate stints as a player.

10. Fraser Fyvie – Wigan Athletic £500,000

Aberdonian Fyvie was Aberdeen’s youngest-ever player when he made his debut as a 16-year-old in 2009.

The midfielder returned from a serious knee injury suffered at Alloa in 2010 to become a regular once more during the 2011-12 season.

Fraser Fyvie became the youngest ever Aberdeen player on his debut.

This prompted then-Premier League Wigan to sign the central midfielder, and Fyvie won the FA Cup with the club in 2013.

He has since returned to Scotland, winning the Scottish Cup with Hibs in 2015/16 and also turning out for Dundee United.

Fyvie is now at Aberdeen’s other club, Cove Rangers, who he helped to the League Two title last year.

10. Gordon Strachan/Jim Leighton – Manchester United £500,000

Like Archibald above, the identical £500,000 Aberdeen received from Manchester United in 1984 and 1988 for winger Strachan and goalkeeper Leighton shows the inflation and growth of football transfer fees since that period.

Two of Aberdeen’s European Cup Winners’ Cup-winning Gothenburg Greats and greatest-ever players moved to the Red Devils for money which would today be considered peanuts.

Aberdeen’s players celebrate their Super Cup triumph in 1983.<br />Back row (l to r): Dougie Bell, Jim Leighton, John Hewitt, Alex McLeish, Neil Simpson, Peter Weir, Stewart McKImmie<br />Front row (l to r): Willie Miller, John McMaster, Gordon Strachan, Mark McGhee, Eric Black.

In their time at the Dons, both players won multiple league titles and Scottish Cups, while also racking up Scotland caps, before moving on.

Leighton of course returned to Aberdeen for a second spell between 1997 and 2000.

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