Norwich City's sixth signing of a frenetic – if not frantic – summer moved a whole lot closer this morning and after David Strihavka revealed to the official Banik Ostrava website that he had agreed a four-year with the Canaries and was fully expecting to report for training on Monday morning.
“And then it all starts,” the 6ft 3in striker told fcb.cz.
At which point he also managed to tell the Canary messageboard, wrathofthebarclay.co.uk, as a spot of resourceful European co-operation found a bilingual football fan translating Strihavka's farewell speech to the Czech First Division club into perfect English.
Not that the whole deal is done and dusted. The piece ran under the headline: 'David Strihavka agrees terms with Norwich; now it's up to the clubs' with City sources confirming that the precise terms of the deal with Banik have yet to be finalised.
As ever, a mountain of paperwork will need to ping between one side of Europe and the other before Jamie Cureton can look forward to meeting his new Czech mate on Monday morning.
Ironically given all the hand wringing and finger pointing that followed Robert Earnshaw's exit on that controversial, ?3.5 million 'get out' clause, it would now appear that the 24-year-old Strihavka also has a bail out figure.
Handy for any chasing pack when the player concerned has just finished the 30-game Czech league season as their Premier Division's top-scorer with 13 goals from his 28 games.
Likewise, the Banik chairman – Jakub Kahoun – also confirmed that the two clubs have yet to finalise the deal. Given Strihavka's mind appears so clearly set on launching himself on English football this summer having had the grand tour on Wednesday, Banik's position would appear to be weakening.
“We have been informed that David has agreed terms with the club. Now we need to come to an agreement with Norwich ourselves,” said Ban?k chairman Jakub Kahoun.
As for the player, it had clearly been something of an emotional roller-coaster as he prepared to leap into a whole new world and put himself on the doorstep of the richest league in Europe.
There was also the small matter of the late night negotiations that, at one stage, appeared on the verge of breaking down.
“I'm shattered, it was a real marathon,” revealed Strihavka.
“I flew into London on Tuesday morning, then travelled up to Norwich and had a medical that seemed to go on for ever.
“I got to the hotel at two in the morning and we were still discussing a possible contract at three.”
According to the Banik website report, at that point the player believed he was heading home empty-handed – his second foray into England coming to nought after his abortive trial spell with Watford earlier this year.
“When I got to the stadium, it all fell into place: a fantastic, 26,000-capacity arena, wonderful surroundings and pleasant people who lived up to my expectations,” he said, as City boss Peter Grant proved a more than able salesman.
“I spoke to the manager, who had been assistant manager at West Ham, they told me they'd bought two lads and a goalkeeper from Celtic and that they wanted promotion to the Premier League. It was too good to refuse.”
It was the pull of English football that helped convince Strihavka that Norfolk was where he wanted to be – knocking on the door of the Premiership with all the riches that has to offer.
Had it been Belgium or Bulgaria, he would have been staying put at Banik who, he felt, would be a real force in the forthcoming season.
“It looks like the squad will be really strong, with Venca Sv?rko? they'll be a real force. I felt it would have been worth staying in the league, but in the end I was swayed by the fact that the offer came from England, even if it is the second league.
“It's an enormous opportunity, and I take it as a challenge. At the same time, I know what a fantastic move it was to have come to Ban?k in the first place. Without this club I would never have been in the position I'm in now,” he added, hitting full 'Bye, bye!' mode.
Relief is, it seems, his overwhelming emotion.
“A weight has been lifted from my shoulders now that everything going on around me has been sorted out and I can just concentrate on football.
“In England I'm sure I'll be able to learn a lot, including an even more professional approach to football. I'm not worried about the language, I already speak a little English and I'm sure I'll soon get used to it.
“I'll still have to put in an appearance at Ostrava, but on Monday I have to report for training at Norwich. Then in a week we go on a training camp in the Netherlands. And then it all starts.”
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