City boss Glenn Roeder can sleep slightly easier this evening after sources in the Midlands described reports of a ?1 million swoop for Martin Taylor by West Bromwich Albion as 'completely wide of the mark'.
It was a line repeated by those close to Baggies boss Tony Mowbray; that he had no interest in persuading the long-time Canary target to swap sides of the city.
Indeed, the most telling aspect of the story was the fact that the Birmingham Evening Mail had paid it such scant attention – writing off the Taylor 'link' in one final, throw-away paragraph.
Unusual given that both clubs sat slap bang in the middle of their patch and such seven-figure moves within Birmingham tend to be the talk of the city.
All of which suggested that the on-going Taylor saga was now in the 'fun and games' stage, where various interested parties float the idea that a third party could be planning a last-minute swoop in a bid to either raise the buyer's price – or else actually see if there isn't actually anyone else out there still waiting in the wings.
Roeder dropped every hint after Saturday's home clash with Leicester City that Taylor remained on his most-wanted list; that there was an on-going dialogue between the Canaries and Blues chief executive Karren Brady.
Officially and Norwich have only lodged one bid for the 28-year-old, 6ft 4in centre-half – ?750,000.
Having at first chided Roeder for doing his business through the Press, Brady then duly proceeded to use her regular column in The Sun to slap a ?1 million price tag on Taylor's head – and to tell the Canary boss to just pick up the phone if he wanted to secure the player's services on a full-time basis.
For his part, Roeder has long put much store by the fact that he caught the players' three young boys running round the team hotel in their newly-bought Norwich City shirts.
In fairness, that faith appeared justified when it became clear that Taylor had no interest whatsoever in uprooting his family to West London – despite Blues agreeing a ?1 million fee with the Rs.
They moved swiftly on with the purchase of Matthew Connolly from Arsenal and Fitz Hall from Wigan; all of which left Brady with just one offer on the table.
The situation has been complicated further by the fact that new Birmingham boss Alex McLeish is in no great hurry to leave himself short of numbers – particularly for as long as Radhi Jaidi remains absent in the African Cup of Nations with Tunisia.
In theory, Taylor could have walked had Lazio defender Guglielmo Stendardo walked through they door this week. But once that deal collapsed, all eyes are now focussed on the chase for Villa youngster Gary Cahill – with ex-Canary boss Martin O'Neill proving a reluctant suitor.
“No-one has met our valuation,” said the Villa chief, with Cahill now wandering round with a ?4 million price tag on his head. Even that might not be enough with Villa today reported to have turned down a ?4 million bid from Bolton for the player – something that would have thrown a real spanner into McLeish's works.
To complicate matters further, Olof Mellberg has now let it be known that he fancies a spell in Italy in the summer and depending on his mind-set, Cahill could move up to No4 in the pecking order behind Martin Laursen, Curtis Davies and Zat Knight.
“I understand Gary's position in that he wants to play, but I have to look after events here,” O'Neill, told the Evening Mail.
“Having done so well at Sheffield United on loan, he obviously doesn't want to stall his career. By the same token, I'm not in any rush and I will continue to monitor Gary's situation right up until transfer deadline. It also depends on Olof Mellberg's situation and I need to assess his frame of mind if he has decided to move on.”
As ever, O'Neill managed to knock one particular nail on the head with that one phrase summing up exactly where we all are right now – that he will 'continue to monitor Gary's situation right up until transfer deadline…'
The Villa boss is, by that token, expecting a long and fraught night on the 31st as a big game of domino's unfolds through the Premiership and the Championship with the biggest winners likely to be the raft of agents involved in greasing all such wheels.
In the meantime, Roeder's hopes of an old pal's act working wonders at The Emirates appeared to take something of a dive this afternoon as Gunners boss Arsene Wenger told the club's TV station that his kids wouldn't be coming out to play this spring.
“No, [I will not loan them out] because we are very short. We have 17 fit players,” Wenger said. “You saw that at Tottenham, because the players on the bench should not have been there.”
The Gunners chief also suggested that he may have to employ his Carling Cup selection tactics for the FA Cup as the race for the Premiership title and that coveted Champions League crown dominates his thinking.
“Our main targets are the Premier League and the Champions League,” said the Arsenal manager. “We will prioritise that.”
Whether that means every 17 and 18-year-old in the building is staying firmly put is something that will emerge over the course of the next six days; it does, however, suggest that his more senior reserve players of the Justin Hoyte variety will be joining Theo Walcott in seeing out the season at The Emirates.