Plan C came to fruition just in the nick of time this afternoon as Robert Earnshaw exited stage left, to be followed – bang on cue – by Jamie Cureton returning to his spiritual home as he entered stage right no more than a hour later.
The 31-year-old former Canary trainee signed a three-year deal with the Carrow Road club this afternoon after Norwich agreed “an undisclosed fee” with their Essex neighbours Colchester United for the current holder of the Championship's Golden Boot.
Given that the Canaries desperately need to pull at least one iron out of the fire after seeing Billy Sharp disappear to Sheffield United overnight and top scorer Earnshaw 'get-out' to Derby County for ?3.5 million, City's bargaining power with the Us was hardly huge.
PR-wise, if nothing else, they needed the prodigal's return to smooth over some alarmed feathers. And given that the Us already had Hull City sniffing around at the required ?750,000-mark – and the suggestion was that Cureton's ex-Reading boss Alan Pardew wasn't a million miles away either with Charlton – then you can take ?750,000 as read.
Plus a few, future add-ons to hit rather nearer the million mark.
Albeit no spring chicken at 31, in fairness to the player he looked as lean and as sharp as he's ever done as he led City a merry dance in that 3-0 defeat at Layer Road this spring.
“I will be 32 in August, but I still have plenty in the locker – don't worry about that,” Cureton told the club's official site as it announced the second big piece of business of the day.
“I'm probably playing the best I have ever played at the moment and I'm raring to go,” he added. “I'm ambitious and I want to get to the Premiership with Norwich.
“I can't wait to get cracking with the rest of the lads in training, to be honest.”
In his own mind, the clock was clearly ticking. At 31, going on 32, and with that Golden Boot sat on his mantelpiece, Cureton knew this was the summer to cash his chips in and for once earn the kind of money his natural finishing prowess deserves.
Not the Premiership riches a Darren Bent is about to enjoy at Spurs, but the relative Championship riches that a Norwich can offer compared to his earlier spells up and down the M4 at Bristol Rovers, Reading, Swindon and Colchester.
Talk to such Carrow Road luminaries as Jeremy Goss and Ian Crook and both will insist that Cureton was the best natural finisher they saw at the club.
Born and bred in Bristol, he was part of that golden West Country generation that included the likes of his big pal Darren Eadie, Andy Johnson and, albeit a few years behind, Craig Bellamy.
At youth level, his partnership with Ade Akinbiyi was electric – one was pure muscle, the other pure finishing as a teenage Cureton helped himself to 82 goals in 90 Youth starts.
Denied a lengthy run in the first team by a succession of managers, Mike Walker you sensed simply wearied of his jolly japes and slightly irreverent outlook on life as he sold Cureton to Bristol Rovers for ?200,000 in September, 1996.
Matters came to something of a head – literally – with the shock of dyed, green hair that ran onto the field in the derby clash with Ipswich Town in April, 1996.
Done as a bet with Johnson, legend has it that Cureton was the first to take the plunge in the solemn belief that his midfield side-kick would follow suit.
His close-cropped hair a near-flourescent green as the Portman Road natives waited, a gleeful Johnson had 'second thoughts' and left Cureton to face the manager's disbelief on his own.
The fact that the then 20-year-old would score a peach of a goal from the edge of the box merely added to the legend that was Jamie Cureton.
And now the boy is back.
“I scored a lot of goals at youth and reserve level here and managed to get a few goals in big games for the first team,” he added.
“But if I'm honest I didn't really feel my first team career got going here and I'm determined to put that right.”
He certainly made a name for himself last season – 24 goals at the head of a team that, in theory, didn't offer the kind of service that a Darren Huckerby will offer ought to bode well.
A bit like Chris Sutton – if the Canaries could ever persuade him to forego his continuing sense of loyalty to Villa boss Martin O'Neill – Cureton has too many reasons not to foul up on his own door-step; too many mates still living in the city; too much respect for the club that launched his professional career.
“I managed to finish as top scorer in the Championship last season and that's what I've got to be aiming for again with Norwich,” he told the club's official website.
“With the quality of players we have in the squad there's no reason why I should not get a lot of goals and no reason why we shouldn't be going all out for promotion.”
Back at Layer Road and Us chairman Peter Heard was expressing his disappointment as Cureton's exit. The Essex side have now seen both the Championship's top scorer last season and his big strike pal Chris Iwelumo walk out this summer – life could be a struggle next time round.
“The club tried very hard to resist Jamie Cureton's departure and refused his initial transfer request, offering him a much improved and longer contract – not withstanding his present contractual arrangements,” Heard told the official Colchester website this afternoon.
Cureton's suggestion in the East Anglian Daily Times that the Us “lacked ambition” after watching Iwelumo disappear and Richard Garcia saunter off a free agent always made a parting of the ways this summer nigh-on inevitable.
“The club is extremely disappointed to lose him to one of our competitors, but after the comments he made in the Press we felt we were left with no option,” Heard added.
“He made it clear that he wanted to pursue his career elsewhere and a possible future attitude could have been detrimental to the club had we continued to refuse his wishes to leave.”