City's never-ending pursuit of Blues centre-half Martin Taylor took another twist this afternoon as it emerged that Alex McLeish's hunt for a potential replacement has collapsed.
And, according to tonight's Birmingham Evening Mail, that means that the new Blues boss will be keeping 'Tiny' Taylor firmly in his sights 'for the time being' as he tries to get someone else through the door.
Lazio's Guglielmo Stendardo is the latest fly in Glenn Roeder's ointment. The Serie A defender had, apparently, been locked in talks with the St Andrews club – all with a view to Stendardo arriving through one door, as Taylor exited to Carrow Road by the other.
Indeed, all seemed set fair as the 25-year-old Stendardo fell out with Lazio manager Delio Rossi and looked to bale out of the Rome giants. Now, however, an injury crisis has found everyone kissing and making up – or rather Stendardo deciding to stay put at least until the summer at which point he gives either Milan or Napoli the nod.
In the meantime, however, that has managed to throw a spanner into Roeder's works as McLeish clings on to Taylor having already lost Radhi Jaidi to the African Cup of Nations and seen Johan Djourou be recalled by Arsenal following the end of his half-season loan.
All of which leaves just Taylor as cover for the current pairing of Liam Ridgewell and Rafael Schmitz. McLeish admits even that isn't ideal – both are left-sided. Hence his continuing interest in prising Gary Cahill out of Martin O'Neill's hands at Aston Villa. Originally priced at ?4 million, that figure has now risen to ?5 million – testing both the patience and the purse of Blues' owners.
“The Stendardo guy, who we were looking at bringing on loan, won't be happening,” the Blues boss told the Birmingham Evening Mail tonight, one piece of news that Roeder could have done without. Much now rests on Marvellous Martin playing ball over Cahill.
“Lazio have got a bit of an injury crisis right now. He won't be going anywhere,” added McLeish, his own frustration evident having done his own 'leg-work' on the out-of-favour Lazio defender.
“The reason we were considering him on loan and not making a commitment to his club was that we didn't know enough about him,” said McLeish. “I did the diligence on him, I spoke to contacts in Italy, and I felt it was right we should try to get him on loan first.”
Cue the Ridgewell/Schmitz show. They have, in fairness, limited first Arsenal and then Chelsea to just a goal apiece. But it is clear that McLeish is not about to leave himself without any cover – all of which may go a long way to explain why everyone in Norfolk has been left to twiddle their thumbs and wait for 'Tiny' to return.
“They've done very well together,” he said. “While they are two left-footers – and yet nobody has got any problem playing two right-footers – they have combined. They have been very, very good but I do have a problem if one of them goes down.”
City aren't exactly alone in their transfer frustrations. Down the road and David Norris' on-off, on-off move to Ipswich appears to be heading to an increasingly bitter stalemate with Plymouth rejecting the want-away midfielder's transfer request fresh from rejecting a reported third bid of ?1.75 million from the Suffolk side.
For all the fact that Town boss Jim Magilton is weighed down with all that reported Marcus Evans cash, he is no nearer prising his No1 transfer target out than Roeder is with his.
As ever, this January transfer window looks set to run and run – right up, no doubt, until the midnight hour.