With the dust still settling on Robert Earnshaw's ?3.5m return to the Premiership, Derby boss Billy Davies this weekend confirmed that if the Welsh wizard hadn't made the switch to the East Midlands, then he may well have remained in the Championship ? as had been widely reported – with newly-relegated Charlton Athletic.
Earnshaw completed his record-breaking move to the play-off winners on Friday after the Rams took advantage of a get-out clause in the former West Brom striker's contract.
However, it had been widely reported that Addicks chief Alan Pardew was eager to have Earnshaw in place to soften the blow of Darren Bent's departure to London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Internet message boards were rife with rumours of meetings between the 19-goal hitman and Pardew but it would have been a bitter pill for Canaries fans to swallow to see their former striking sensation pulling on the shirt of a promotion rival.
“We were all too aware of Charlton's interest, that's why we moved so quickly,” Davies confirmed to the Derby Telegraph.
“It was all to do with timing because of the clause in his contract at Norwich.
“Charlton were very interested and they threw an awful lot at it to take him there so I'm really delighted that he's decided to join us. We had fantastic support from the club to make sure the deal went through.”
Earnshaw arrives at Pride Park having found the net 150 times in his club career and in truth, it was his all-important 19 goals that kept City out of any real relegation danger last season.
And Davies ? who masterminded the Rams' remarkable third place finish in his first season at the club ? thinks he has found himself a real bargain, especially in this day and age.
If Darren Bent is worth ?16.5m, then at less than a quarter of that price, Earnie looks like a snip.
“It's a great bit of business,” added the Scot.
“What other clubs spend on players is up to them. All I'm concerned about is Derby County and I feel we've got great value for money.
“For a player of his quality, the skills he has, I'm delighted to have brought him to the club.
“We know the level we're competing at. We're a club that's just been promoted to the top flight and, as I've said before, it's all part of the ongoing development of Derby County as a Premier League outfit.
“It will be interesting to see how it develops further over the coming weeks. It's something I'm sure everyone involved with the club can look forward to.
“I feel we've taken another step towards that with this signing.”
At 26, there is no doubt that Earnshaw's best years are, more than likely, still to come.
It seems he has been floating around the top divisions for decades but the reality is that there are plenty of goals left in the “wee man” ? as he was affectionately known by City boss Peter Grant.
“It's great that we've started our signings with someone of such class,” said Davies.
“He's a proven goalscorer at Championship, Premiership and international level and we're bringing him in at a good age.
“We're going to get his best years.
“He's got that pace, that sharpness, that striker's instinct that all the top players have.
“He's a real fox in the box, he loves scoring goals. Not only that but he's a very, very nice lad. I'm looking forward to working with him.”
It is somewhat ironic that Earnshaw's likely strike partner for the upcoming Premiership campaign will be former Carrow Road transfer target Steve Howard.
If things had turned out differently, Earnshaw and Howard could have spearheaded a promotion challenge in Canary yellow but it was Derby ? backed by the new consortium headed by now chairman Peter Gadsby ? who took the plunge and coughed up the ?1m asking price set by Howard's then club, Luton Town.
Ex-City boss Nigel Worthington had confirmed his interest in the 31-year-old but baulked at the seven-figure sum the Hatters were looking for and when newly cash-rich Derby swooped to get their man, the Canaries were left with Lee Croft as their sole summer purchase.
Howard went on to net 16 times, becoming a firm favourite with the Rams' faithful and was hailed by many as the key man as Derby returned to the Promised Land for the first time in seven years.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn't it?
“We face a fantastic and difficult challenge – we've got to enjoy it no matter what happens but I feel Earnshaw will be a great foil for Steve Howard.
“I'd expect them to work well together on the field but the Derby fans can look forward to a few more quality signings over the days to come.”