City officials will have a clearer picture of where the land lies with regard to Linfield striker Peter Thompson by later this lunchtime as the reigning Irish League champions discuss the player's future at a managerial committee meeting this morning.
One thing looks, however, certain. That having left their star striker out of last night's starting line-up for the Champions League first round qualifier against Dynamo Zagreb at Windsor Park, Thompson's future lies across the water – be it either the Edgeley Park home of Stockport County or Carrow Road.
Those are the two choices on the table, admitted Linfield boss David Jeffrey, speaking to the club's official website after last night's 2-0 home defeat by the champions of Croatia.
“The last 72 hours have been frenetic, I have probably spoken more to Peter in the last three days than I have spoken to him in all the time that he has been here,” said Jeffrey, as the Canaries look to stage a late, smash-and-grab raid for Stockport's long-time transfer target.
In that quest they will be helped by the arrival of new goalkeeping coach Tommy Wright – formerly the manager of Ballymena United and a one-time coach at Linfield – and also Barry Hunter.
The former Reading and Northern Ireland centre-half was revealed as Norwich's new eyes and ears in the Province by City boss Glenn Roeder earlier this summer as part of his fundamental re-shaping of the club's scouting network.
Not that Thompson can't sell himself – his scoring record for Linfield is fairly extraordinary. The 24-year-old smashed home 44 goals last season as Linfield claimed the Irish league and cup double for the third successive season. He hit 48 the season before.
And while the question will inevitably be asked as to what standard he was actually playing at, Thompson clearly knows where the goal is – and if he comes with a seal of approval from both Messrs Wright and Hunter, at the relatively low price tag that Linfield are talking it all looks a cheap and cheerful piece of business.
Equally it is little wonder that, having been at the club since he was 17, 'Pistol Pete' is a hero to the Windsor Park faithful; his 14-minute appearance at the end of last night's Champions League qualifier was greeted with a rousing ovation – all concerned appear to recognise that the boy is on his way to England as Jeffrey confirmed that it was now a two-horse race for his signature.
“In terms of solid interest, both Stockport County and Norwich have made written offers,” the Linfield boss told the club's official site.
“Peter is in the last year of his contract, he has made it very clear to me that he wants to play at the very highest level that he can. We have tried to protect the player, protect the club and make sure we get something that is of benefit to everyone,” added Jeffrey, with Stockport opening the bidding at the ?100,000-mark.
Since then, of course, the bidding has headed north and at some point in the next hour or so, Linfield are expected to close the auction and make a decision.
“I'm not saying that he will be gone tomorrow [Thursday] because I'm not going to pre-empt a board decision, but it is more likely than not.
“If your head has been turned for a couple of days with all that has been going on then it's not humanly possible for him to be focused and that's why I chose to leave him out,” added Jeffrey, who went into Champions League battle with a new-look 4-1-4-1 formation – with the top man sat squarely on the bench.
All that was left, it seems, was for him to make a farewell cameo appearance in the game's dying minutes.
“I can categorically state that we weren't asked by Norwich or Stockport County to leave him out. I can also confirm that there is a Management Committee meeting tomorrow morning [Thursday] at 11.00 o'clock and that's when both offers will be considered.”
With Luton's David Bell reported to be under-going a medical with a view to finally completing his ?600,000 switch from crisis-hit Kenilworth Road to Norfolk and the Fulham pair of Dejan Stefanovic and teenager Elliot Omozusi also firmly on the Roeder radar, it promises to be a very lively 24 hours as City's transfer dealings fire into dramatic life on the eve of their pre-season tour to Sweden.
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