City playmaker Youssef Safri is reportedly the subject of “an inquiry” by West Bromwich Albion as the Canaries dizzying spin on the summer transfer merry-go-round continued today.
According to the Birmingham Evening Mail, no formal offer for the 30-year-old Moroccan international has been made by the Baggies.
However, there “has been some discussion between the two clubs to establish the feasibility of a possible transfer”.
The Hawthorns club are in the midst of a recruitment drive to match Norwich's own having finally bowed to the inevitable this week and started to off-load their Premiership-standard players following their play-off final defeat by Derby County.
First out of the door – accompanied by his agent Wille Mackay – was striker Diomansy Kamara who finally left for Fulham in a potential ?6.5million player-plus-cash switch.
That player is understood to be striker Heidar Helguson with Baggies boss Tony Mowbray also expected to wrap up the ?1.25 million capture of Celtic striker Craig Beattie in the next 24 hours.
His first signing of the week was, however, far more mundane as Albion signed Dutch centre-half Shelton Martis from Hibernian for ?50,000.
Kamara's exit can clearly fund much of the above, but he will not be the last one out of the door with Sunderland chasing the full-back pairing of Paul McShane and Paul Robinson for a combined sum of ?5 million.
Jason Koumas has Villa on his tail, while Middlesborough are invariably mentioned in the same breath as Zoltan Gera.
The big one, however, is much-admired young centre-half Curtis Davies who has long been linked to a top of the range switch to Spurs.
Either way, the Baggies should have the financial wherewithal to finance a raid for Safri.
Mowbray's interest in the Norwich play-maker would also make sense from a style point of view.
For having enjoyed a lengthy spell at Portman Road as first skipper and then coach, it is easy to see how Mowbray might draw a parallel between Safri and now-Town boss Jim Magilton who – like Safri – made a successful Championship career out of directing traffic from the base of the Ipswich midfield.
Never the most mobile, Magilton still set the tone for much of Town's play. And with Mowbray a keen student of playing football 'the right way', the reasons for his reported 'inquiry' into Safri's availability begin to fall into place.
Speaking at Jamie Cureton's arrival at Carrow Road this morning, City boss Peter Grant was very wary of being drawn into further transfer discussions – be they in or out of the Norfolk club.
Reports that Derby were pondering a second Rams raid – this time for Safri's midfield partner Dickson Etuhu – was probably the last thing Grant wanted to hear after Billy Davies' cut-price capture of Robert Earnshaw last week, while suggestions that the lengthy chase for David Marshall's signature could end in the next 24 hours were also firmly flat-batted by the Norwich boss.
“I'm only interested in talking about Jamie this morning,” he said. “It's happened at so many other clubs and I've seen it happen myself, that people talk about players, there's speculation, nothing happens and then there's disappointment.
“For me the most important thing is that we've got Jamie through the door.
“That's one down. As I've said, I felt we needed a few changes to help the group that we have. There's no doubt about that – Jamie's a part of that and the process is on-going.
“We're looking to bring in quality – and there's no doubt that we've got quality here. We've got the top goal-scorer in the Championship which everybody seems to forget.
“We're absolutely delighted to have him and, hopefully, we can bring in quality all round the team,” added Grant, in the midst of a real transfer whirlwind.
“I knew we were short from the moment I walked in the door in October. I will have to make changes and I will still be looking to do that.”
There is certainly little doubt that Safri's involvement in next year's African Cup of Nations finals in Ghana would cast a long shadow over City's New Year thinking as he disappears for the better part of a month.
It certainly did little to help Nigel Worthington's hopes of bouncing back to the Premiership at the first time of asking when Safri disappeared to the 2006 tournament in Egypt.
Nor did he do himself too many favours with the management by ignoring the club's advice and playing for Morocco in their crucial World Cup qualifier against neighbours Tunisia the previous autumn and merely aggravating a long-standing groin problem.
But with Earnshaw out of the door on Friday, the prospect of Safri following suit a week later would certainly get the message-boards humming and will heap further pressure on the club to find a suitable replacement – sooner rather than later.
Cureton, in fairness, took much of the sting out of Earnshaw's exit by arriving two hours later. To perform a similar feat if Safri were to be tempted by a switch to The Hawthorns would ask a lot of all concerned.
In fairness, Grant and Co still have the better part of nine weeks to before the transfer window finally closes – time a-plenty, in theory, to fill in any gaping holes that the exit of first Earnshaw and now, possibly, Safri might leave.
“It's been a tough summer,” he admitted. “You don't really relax through it.
“And to be perfectly honest with you I can't wait to get back out onto the training field with the ball out. And that means that I won't be answering the phone for three or four hours!”