City officials could be in for a long and fraught night of negotiations as QPR waited in the wings to steal their thunder and whip Martin Taylor out of Birmingham's hands.
Blues this morning announced on their own, official website that the 28-year-old centre-half was heading back to St Andrews – his month-long loan spell at Norwich officially over.
With the emergency loan window shut since November 22, it means that Taylor will now find himself sat firmly in Birmingham's reserves until at least January 1 when the full-time transfer window reopens – at which point Rangers could throw their Formula One money at the six-foot four-inch defender.
Figures of ?1.25 million have already been mentioned come January.
However, all might not be wholly lost; that today's 'He's coming back…' statement could yet be part of the whole negotiating process with the Canaries understood to have until midnight tonight before which they must lodge the required paperwork for a second, concurrent month's loan.
The Birmingham Evening Mail tonight likewise kept the door wide open for further twists in the tale – a move born of weary experience given the games certain people can play at St Andrews.
Their line was to land the ball firmly in Tiny's court – suggesting that Norwich's November Player of the Month was leaning more towards returning to Norfolk for a second month's loan.
Blues, by contrast, were far more interested in anyone who could slap some hard cash on the table come January 1.
?Blues would prefer a straight cash transfer in order to boost new boss Alex McLeish's transfer kitty, but Taylor had been leaning towards another month's loan,? the paper reported tonight.
?Now QPR have also entered the hunt and they have money to spend after the takeover by Formula One magnates Flavio Bria-tore and Bernie Ecclestone.?
All of which would fit with Roeder's remark the other week that Taylor had a London club on his tail but ?knowing Martin Taylor like I do? the Northumberland-born defender would not want a move to London.
Not while there's a mini Geordie Nation in charge of the Canaries. And under the likes of Lee Clark and Paul Stephenson, Taylor is thoroughly enjoying his new life in the limelight at Carrow Road.
Particularly given the fact that he's been playing in front of 25,000-strong full houses every week and may yet sense something good going on under Roeder's charge.
The whole picture is complicated further by the fact that Taylor still has two-and-a-half years left on his contract at Blues; that the hopes of the Gold and Sullivan clans of a Far Eastern takeover riding to their rescue appear about to be dashed; that with no more than ?3 million reported to be in Alex McLeish's New Year transfer kitty, hard-nosed chief executive Karren Brady will be desperate to find any guaranteed, cash-buyer for the first of January – with Rangers clearly fitting that bill.
Given that McLeish himself has already all but burnt his bridges with the player by declaring that he was surplus to requirements without ever actually seeing him play, Taylor will be in no hurry to return up the A14.
Nor, if Roeder is to be believed, is he in any hurry at all to pack his bags for the bright lights and house prices of West London.
Indeed, sources at Carrow Road confirm the Birmingham Evening Mail's impression that Taylor fancies an extended tour of duty in Norfolk.
It will, therefore, come down to a battle of wills between player and Blues chief executive – and which one of them digs their heels in the deeper tonight.
Brady will gun for a Rangers cash deal for January 1; Taylor – provided the money Norfolk-wise is right – may stick out for a return to Roeder's arms. 'I'm not moving to London. End of…'
Does that and Brady will have to go back to Norwich to try and broker a deal. Provided Norwich think they have the player firmly on board – and that he will be as good as any word that he's already given to Roeder – then the Canaries could prise the better end of the bargain out of Blues.
That all said, he won't be going anywhere for anything much less than ?1 million – not with those two-and-a-half years to run.
Either way, all the available evidence points to a long night with everything – and everyone – still in the balance.
Last season Taylor was a mainstay alongside Radhi Jaidi at the heart of a Birmingham defence that helped claim the club's Championship promotion success; this season, however, and he has made just one appearance for Blues this season, in the Carling Cup at Blackburn Rovers.
That was under the now-departed Steve Bruce; McLeish isn't even bothered about seeing him play; he just wants cash for his own players in the New Year.
There was one, final telling line in tonight's piece in The Mail. ?The centre-half does not want to rush a decision but keep his options open, although it seems something could give one way or the other tomorrow….?
Which probably points to a story that has a way to run yet.
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