Wolves boss Mick McCarthy could yet come back knocking on Norwich City's door after his hopes of prising Christophe Berra out of Hearts appeared to be drawing a big, fat blank.
Minus the 23-year-old Hearts skipper, the word in the West Midlands was that McCarthy would return to his fall-back position of City centre-half Jason Shackell who has already found himself linked to a ?1 million switch to Molineux.
McCarthy always faced a tough battle prising Berra out of the Edinburgh club – not least for the fact that Rangers have also been linked to the newly-capped Scottish international centre-half this summer.
The other complicating factor was the very nature of the Hearts beast under the 'charismatic' ownership of Lithuanian chairman Vladimir Romanov who – after a sixth-month trawl of the continent – has just appointed his latest head coach, the former manager of Uganda Csaba Laszlo.
Virtually his first act was to urge Berra to stay; for the player – about to compete under his ninth manager at Tynecastle in the last four years – the chance for a quieter life well away from Romanov's chaotic rule might still prove all-too tempting.
Either way, however, and McCarthy's hopes of a swift resolution to the proposed ?1.5 million deal look slim.
“We're no further forward with anything and will just keep looking,” McCarthy told the Wolverhampton Express & Star today, with the picture further complicated by the manager's need to get one or two of his own players on their way – ex-Millwall centre-half Darren Ward principal among them.
One out, then one in – standard Championship policy these days. With Roeder heavily linked to a move for Fulham's unwanted centre-half Dejan Stefanovic, Shackell himself could wonder whether or not his own first team opportunities might be limited at Carrow Road this season.
In short, everything could still be possible – Berra might still decide to chance his arm south of the border; Ward might stay put; no-one might come a-nibbling again for Shackell.
But, certainly, the new Hearts chief wants the Tynecastle favourite to stay – as he told the Evening Times in Edinburgh.
“If you have a good player, everybody is interested in him,” said Laszlo, as Romanov's six-month search for a new manager finally ended far from Scotland's shores.
“And we know the young players have the ability to take the team to a better level. I'd like to keep these players but if the possibility is there to sell them, then we wouldn't stop their careers developing.”
He was, he said, going to give Berra the big sell. “My intention is to show these players their duty is here and I hope to work together with them. I will tell them that, if we can reach Europe with Hearts, there will be better opportunities to expose them,” he added.
With the whiff of that failed Peter Cullum bid still lingering in the air, the Canaries are all too well aware that they need to be bringing players in ASAP, not ushering any more out.
Several potential deals appeared to get stuck in the works whilst the whole Cullum saga played itself out – notably the chase for Luton's David Bell and Alan Gow of Rangers.
Now that the club have, in theory, nipped any idea that they have ?20 million to spend in the bud, talks could resume on both fronts – with all concerned now coming to the table on the basis of having their usual cash to splash rather than the QPR-like numbers which would inevitably follow Cullum around.
City's own pre-season preparations kick-on again this Wednesday night when the Canaries make the short trip to the Emerald Park home of Gorleston. Given just how slender his resources are, Roeder will be more conscious than ever of the need to avoid any pre-season bumps and bruises of the kind that put Jimmy Smith's loan move on hold for four months after the Chelsea midfielder injured himself on tour.
Lone, experienced striker Jamie Cureton will certainly spend most of his summer wrapped up in cotton wool, while the Canaries – now, of course, minus the kind of cover that the imperious Dion Dublin used to offer at either end of the pitch – could likewise do without either Wolves-target Shackell or the newly re-signed Gary Doherty doing anything untoward over the next four week ahead of that opening Championship game away at Coventry City.