So what signal does allowing your top scorer to leave for only a marginal increase on the fee it cost to bring him in send out to supporters of a club intent on making its presence felt in the Coca-Cola Championship this season?
…And especially so after what can only be described as a nightmare campaign last term?
Well, hold on, just hang fire a little and let's look at this from a realistic viewpoint.
First things first, and Robert Earnshaw himself made it no secret that he wanted to ply his trade in the Premiership this season, don't forget.
In such a situation a club has to look at selling ? simple as that.
Holding a player against his will is hardly conducive for getting the very best out of him no matter how much spin both parties might try to put on it to try to suggest otherwise.
If someone's head has been turned, then no matter how much he might convince himself that as a professional he'll be able to give it his all for his current club, there'd not be a cat in hell's chance of him pulling out all the stops on the opening day of the campaign for them in the manner that he undoubtedly would be doing on his debut elsewhere.
So as soon as Earnie hinted that he wasn't completely as happy as Larry here at Carrow Road, the odds on him packing his bags increased considerably.
?3.5 million though isn't a great deal by any means for City.
In the current climate I'd be looking at somewhere between ?4m and ?5m being a more realistic valuation for someone with such a proven goalscoring record – and who bagged 19 goals last season despite missing a sizable chunk of the games!
Nevertheless, all the money has supposedly been promised to go straight back into Peter Grant's transfer warchest, and so at least City fans haven't seen yet another of their top players leave just to keep the wolf from the door as has been the case in years gone by.
And the City boss wasted little time in opening the chequebook to bring Jamie Cureton back to the club where his career began.
A shrewd acquisition or a bad error of judgement?
Definitely the former for my money.
True, he is over 30 years old, but in the modern game that really shouldn't set the alarm bells ringing in the manner that it would have done at one time, and anyone who travelled down to Layer Road at the back end of last season to witness Cureton leading the Canaries rearguard a merry dance on the way to an emphatic 3-0 thumping will testify to him hardly being on his last legs, so to speak.
And there's certainly no other reason why Cureton can't be just as prolific as Earnshaw in a yellow shirt, that's for sure.
He's hit the back of the net wherever he's been during his career to date, is a natural finisher with either foot and, has that uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time inside the box, and can offset not possessing the same raw pace as Earnshaw with a better ability for controlling the ball and bringing others into play more effectively than the departing Wales striker in my opinion.
Don't get me wrong, in an ideal world no-one would have wanted to see Earnshaw leave, but I'd not be surprised in the slightest if Cureton proves to be every bit as successful in a yellow shirt as the new Derby striker, and especially so now that he's back to deal with ? in his words ? “some unfinished business”.
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