Wolverhampton Wanderers' pursuit of City centre-half Jason Shackell appears to have hit a dead end today with boss Mick McCarthy announcing he is setting his sights on alternative targets.
After having a reported ?1 million bid rejected by Canary chief Glenn Roeder – with the word being that the City boss would only even consider such a deal when he has bolstered his defensive ranks ? McCarthy turned his attentions to Hearts' highly-rated Christophe Berra.
But it seems he has drawn a blank on both fronts and, for now, it looks like Shackell is staying put.
One national newspaper claimed this weekend that Shackell was unhappy at Wolves' initial bid being rejected but on the eve of City's pre-season opener at Gorleston tomorrow night, the one-time skipper looks set to stay with the Canaries.
“We had a bid in for Berra but that deal is dead, as is the Jason Shackell one. They won't be done at all,” said Wanderers manager McCarthy, speaking to the Express and Star.
“Hearts are saying he won't be going anywhere, Shackell is not going to happen, so I've moved on from those.
“There are no other bids in. For the moment, those deals are dead as far as I'm concerned and we're looking elsewhere.
“Who we get I don't know. It might be that someone comes out from completely out of the blue from somewhere which has never been mentioned. But Darren Ward's still here and he's been exemplorary in his professionalism.
“While we're still looking, I've still got four centre-halves with Darren Ward. He's on the list and we'll see what happens.”
If Shackell begins the season at Carrow Road then it will be his sixth as a professional and after losing the captaincy to Mark Fotheringham last year, he will be hoping for a big campaign, with Roeder not hiding his desire to bring in at least one more centre-half.
At the moment, Shackell and the re-signed Gary Doherty are nailed on certainties to start at the Ricoh Arena for the 08/09 opener but stiff competition is a key ingredient at this level.
Meanwhile, Birmingham City are said to have entered the race for Rangers midfielder Alan Gow ? who, despite having the grand Colney tour nearly three weeks ago, is no nearer to arriving in Norfolk.
“We all understand things take time and don't happen just like that,” said Gow's agent Phil McTaggart 12 days ago.
“Alan was impressed with the set-up and the manager at Norwich. It was just a case of there being a few bits and bobs – questions we put to the chief executive, Neil Doncaster.
“We are waiting to hear back from him. I am sure he will get back to us when he has the opportunity.”
But according to SkySports, Blues are now “keeping tabs” on the former Falkirk man and with the additions of Lee Carsley and Kevin Phillips on Bosman free transfers and Charlton's Marcus Bent favouring St Andrews over a switch to Cardiff, Birmingham will certainly be competitive in the coming campaign.
And boss Alex McLeish will know one-cap Scotland international Gow well from his time managing north of the border.
A little further south and the Shola Ameobi saga still rumbles on, with the Sunderland Echo reporting that West Brom and the Canaries are waiting for Newcastle to drop their ?3m price tag as we get ever nearer the start of the new campaign.
Spanish club Real Mallorca have also been mentioned in some quarters with a move for the former England Under-21 striker with ex-Magpies chairman Freddy Shepherd on the verge of taking over the club.
But the link with Roeder – his former boss at St James' Park ? and close friend Lee Clark refuses to go away and with Newcastle keen to offload Ameobi, City's bargaining position improves with every passing day.
Ameobi, having reluctantly conceded that his Newcastle career is over after 230 appearances and 46 goals, has told friends he is frustrated by the stalemate.
He made just eight appearances for the Toon in 07/08 and is not willing to spend another season on the sidelines, with Mark Viduka, Obafemi Martins, Michael Owen, Alan Smith and Andy Carroll all thought to be ahead of him in the Newcastle striking pecking order.
It would appear that City still sit somewhere just in front of local rivals Ipswich in the queue for Ameobi with Town chief Jim Magilton admitting to MFW this week that the chances of him signing on in Suffolk were dwindling by the day.
“We haven't heard a dicky-bird from his agent, Newcastle or Shola,” said Magilton. “I would imagine that he has gone back to Newcastle.”