As Scunthorpe United's 'most wanted' got the full, red carpet treatment in Norfolk today, so Sky Sports' Football League expert Chris Kamara gave City fans a first hint of what they may be getting – if the Canaries can pull this summer's big money swoop off and get Billy Sharp's signature on the appropriate dotted line.
For while Scunthorpe's decision last night to allow their 21-year-old hot property the chance to speak to the Canaries having finally accepted the ?2 million offer that has been sat at Glanford Park for the last three weeks, so that merely opens up a new can of worms in the shape of the player's own personal terms.
Equally, merely allowing Norwich to speak to Sharp doesn't preclude the Irons from agreeing a similar fee with any other interested party – it is, even down to the lad's own representatives, precisely the same scenario they faced last August as then manager Nigel Worthington chased the signature of Bristol City youngster David Cotterill.
Fee agreed, a flurry of last minute phone calls merely found the Welsh international striker being whipped out of Norwich's hands and off to the JJB Stadium, Wigan, where a big, fat Premiership wage packet awaited. That and the occasional place on the bench.
Hence the behind-the-scenes wariness that largely agreeing a fee could be the easy bit – particularly after Luke Varney's switch to Charlton Athletic set the bar so high wages-wise this summer.
The Wolverhampton Express & Star this afternoon claimed that officials at Molineux were “relaxed” about today's developments – even if they have yet to meet Scunthorpe's asking price.
The presence of Sharp's big pal Andy Keogh in the Midlands and Steve Morgan's reported ?30 million war-chest would presumeably be the reasons behind their on-going confidence that today's day out at Colney is nothing to worry about. City boss Peter Grant at least has Jamie Cureton as a decent fall-back position.
Still if Kamara is any judge, Norwich would for now appear to have a genuine prospect wriggling on the end of their line.
“From what I've seen, Sharp will score goals at a higher level, but it's a bit early to be saying he'll play for one of the big boys,” said Kamara, quizzed as to his thoughts on Sharp in the middle of last season by one delighted Irons fan.
“Billy looks very, err… Sharp!” added Kamara, on the SkySports official website as he allowed himself a little pop at ex-Blades boss Neil Warnock who let the much-talked about teenager go in the summer of 2005. And all for a mere ?100,000.
“I know he was at Sheffield United as a kid and Neil Warnock was silly to let him go,” said Kamara.
“I know Neil loves his strikers and needed some experience to get them into the Premiership, so probably thought the lad wouldn't get any games, but I think it was a mistake to sell him rather than let him go out on loan again.
“But Sheffield's loss is Scunthorpe's gain and now he is getting his opportunity at Scunthorpe, he is showing us all what he can do. He is not the tallest, but he is quick and sharp around the box as you say, and also a terrific finisher.
“He will cause opposing defenders havoc all season and with him in the side, I think Brian Laws knows this season won't be the struggle some were predicting.”
As Kamara rightly predicted, it wasn't a struggle. In fact Scunthorpe breezed to promotion on the back of Sharp's 32-goal haul by when Laws had already left for Yorkshire neighbours Sheffield Wednesday.
No surprise to find Laws in among the chasing pack with Irons chairman Steve Wharton revealing in the Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph tonight that both Wednesday and Wolves had had new and improved bids turned down.
“We have had increased bids from both Wolves and Sheffield Wednesday but neither of those come anywhere near what Norwich have offered,” Wharton told the Telegraph, claiming that any final deal could end up nearer the ?3 million mark should the Canaries hit the heights of the Premiership again with Sharp in their midst.
“Norwich have had a ?2 million bid on the table for some time – and want to be sure that Billy wants to join them before pursuing their interest further,” said Wharton.
“They have offered ?2 million but they know we are looking for add-ons to that which could take the price to near the ?3 million mark if they are promoted to the Premiership.”
There is, of course, a new Irons contract on the table too, but it is clear from Wharton's comments that Sharp's representatives now believe it is time for a move.
“His agent tells us he has decided he wants a move – but Billy's father tells me he has still not finally made up his mind,” said Wharton.
Roll the clock back two years to August, 2005, and Sharp had another big decision to make as then Blades boss Warnock offered the highly-regarded trainee a new three-year contract – alas, without the promise of regular first team starts.
Hindsight supports Kamara's claims of a “mistake”, but it is clear frm Warnock's comments to the Sheffield Star at the time that he was genuinely torn and, in fairness to him, went with what he thought was best for the young man's career at the time.
In that, Warnock was spot on – moving to Glanford Park was the best thing that ever happened to Sharp whether or not he now becomes a City player.
Be it in Norfolk or not, he is about to become a very rich 21-year-old.
“Billy goes with our best wishes – I've never had a problem with him and I'm sure he'll go on to play at a higher level,” Warnock told The Star in August, 2005, having covered his back with a reported 25% sell-on clause.
“How high we'll have to see because he needs more games at League One level to continue his development,” added Warnock.
“I'm sure he'll do well because he's a cracking lad and that's why we've insisted on a higher than usual percentage if he moves.
“We offered Billy terms here but he's got a good deal with Scunthorpe and he knew that he might not get much of a look-in this season.
“He wants to play matches and that's understandable. I'll admit I didn't really want to lose him but the money involved is a good amount at this stage and we've tried to make sure all our bases are covered as much as possible.”