Norwich City's lengthy – and largely silent – pursuit of Banik Ostrava striker David Strihavka finally ended today after City boss Peter Grant revealed that he was training with the Canaries and due to complete the formalities of his Carrow Road switch this week.
Grant had long hinted that the Canaries were prowling around Eastern Europe to see just what that particular market could offer after the likes of Barnsley, Plymouth and Southampton plumbed a rich seam of Poles, Hungarians and Bulgarians.
In the end, Norwich found themselves drawn towards a 24-year-old, 6ft 3in striker who was hauling Banik ever nearer towards mid-table respectability with his 13 goals from 28 Czech Premier League starts.
The fact that the player also had an Earnie-style get-out clause in his Czech contract and was clearly looking for the chance to put himself on the doorstep of the richest league in Europe in the Premiership merely played further into Norwich's hands as they closed in on their first-ever Czech signing.
“He's a boy we've been looking at for a while,” said Grant, speaking to City's offical website.
“We've watched him for a time and knew he'd been down at Watford (on trial) last season where he scored two goals in his only game. At the time we thought there was Premiership interest, but we have kept an eye on him and he's different to what we have.
“He's 6ft 3in, he's technically good as you expect from European players and he scores goals. He will give us a different dimension when he's on the pitch.”
The player himself all but let the cat out of the bag last Thursday when he returned home after a whirlwind tour of Carrow Road and Colney – plus some late-night negotiations on his four-year deal.
“It's an enormous opportunity, and I take it as a challenge,” Strihavka told the Banik official website on his return.
Born in Prague, City's latest arrival had spells at both the city's more famous clubs – Sparta and Bohemians – before switching to Banik last summer where his goal-scoring feats caught the eye of more clubs than just Norwich. It proved the perfect shop-window – as Strihavka acknowledged in what was basically his farewell speech to the Banik fans.
“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 said.
Traditionally, English clubs have sought to ease the inevitable culture shock be buying the more exotic foreign imports in pairs – Ipswich set the trend with the Dutch pairing of Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijssen; Spurs followed with their Argentinian double act of Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa.
More recently, up at Oakwell and Barnsley gave their star Hungarian striker Istvan Ferenczi a pal to play with in the shape of fellow countryman Peter Rajczi.
Judging by Strihavka's early comments, he appears confident enough in his own abilities to arrive in Norfolk all on his lonesome.
“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,” said Strihavka.