Last night and Canary boss Glenn Roeder set his heart on taking “18 to 20” senior players on the club's pre-season tour to Sweden tomorrow.
Tonight and there was no immediate sign of the City chief adding to that number – despite strong suggestions that at least three of this morning's four reported targets were all but there.
Linfield's prolific striker Peter Thompson was the one that appeared to have slipped through the net as the Fulham pairing of Dejan Stefanovic and on-loan teenager Elliot Omozusi and Luton's David Bell – in theory – edged ever closer to joining the Canary party that was Scandinavia-bound.
Two out of those three were understood to have even reached the medical stage; deals have, however, fallen down there before – just ask Watford's ?600,000 centre-half Leigh Bromby. He of the shot-to-bits knees. Stefanovic probably carries more war wounds than most.
From a distance Thompson looks the complete no-go after Linfield's management committee this afternoon gave Stockport County permission to talk to the player after deeming the Canaries eleventh-hour bid “unacceptable”.
Announcing their decision on Linfield's official website, the statement probably begged more questions than provided answers. Norwich might have 'previous' for prudence, but they ought still to offer more by way of ambition than Stockport; that if it did, indeed, come down to a straight cash fight for the striker's services – and all in and around the ?150,000 mark – it would demand a slightly curious set of circumstances for Norwich to be out-gunned by County.
That said, Roeder remains very much his own man; there is every chance that he set a line in the sand value-wise and wasn't about to be drawn into an auction by either Linfield or Stockport. That was his offer. Take it or leave it – and having long-courted the Windsor Park hero, perhaps Stockport were prepared to go that extra mile.
“Linfield Football Club have agreed in principle to accept an offer from Stockport County FC for the transfer of Peter Thompson for an undisclosed fee,” this afternoon's statement read.
“The player has been given permission to talk to Stockport County in a bid to finalise a deal. An offer for the player was received from Norwich City FC but this club's Management Committee was unable to accept the terms.”
As ever, there is a further scenario in the wicked webs people can weave at such moments – that Linfield may well agree a fee with Stockport, but if the player and his agent don't like the personal terms on offer he can refuse the deal and return himself to sender. He might equally fancy a pop at the Championship.
At which point the three-times Irish champions then have little or no choice but to look again at City's 'unacceptable' offer. If that's the one that is more acceptable to the player and his agent, the tables turn again.
In this game, nothing is as straight-forward as it ever seems. Like Peter Cullum and 'Here's ?20 million for players, Glenn…', appearances can be deceptive.
The one, fresh face that would appear to be on the plane for Gothenburg tomorrow is on-trial keeper Stuart Nelson – that, at least, Roeder confirmed at Emerald Park last night.
The Greens didn't ruffle too many of the ex-Orient keeper's feathers in the course of his second-half outing – time for Ahlafors IF and Falkenbergs FF to see whether or not Nelson can be David Marshall's under-study on a full-time basis.
“He's going to come to Sweden because there's obviously an opportunity [against] much, much stiffer opposition as you can imagine,” said Roeder, well aware of the difficulties the two Swedish Second Division sides could pose.
“Swedish teams are always difficult at the best of times – particularly during an English pre-season; they're halfway through their season; they're fully-fit; Scandinavian players are always highly motivated footballers – two tough games.
“So it'll be a better opportunity to see Stuart,” he added.
With “18 to 20” players booked for the trip, it will also be interesting to see which of last night's youth brigade has done enough to earn six days away. The impression was that most would be staying at home – despite some eye-catching efforts from Ricky Martin's Class of '08.
“I won't take too many – no,” said Roeder, quizzed as to how many of the Mannie Richardsons of this world might be Sweden-bound.
“I took a few to Devon last week and they all acquitted themselves well, but there's none of them that are anywhere close to being in the first team at the moment and I wouldn't think that you'll see any of those perhaps at all this year.”
Who the travelling City fans will be hoping to see are those that carried the bumps and knocks into the Greens game and played no part – Adam Drury still has to make his first competitive appearance under Roeder after badly injuring his knee last autumn whilst both Jamie Cureton and skipper Mark Fotheringham will be keen to get some match action under their belts.
Lee Croft also failed to figure last night – despite being given a number which suggested he was due to be among the substitutes.
“They're coming with us; they need to play football because we've not over-done the number of games that we're playing pre-season,” said Roeder, with just the home clashes with Tottenham Hotspur and Colchester United to go before the 2008-2009 season kicks off at the Ricoh on August 9.
The lack of pre-season games was, said Roeder, in part driven by the simple lack of numbers in his squad. Today's non-events have merely kept that situation intact – the City boss still being “five or six” players short of where he eventually wants to be.
“That's something I decided because it was highly unlikely that we'd have a full complement of players around this time and it would have been too much to ask such a small squad of players to play too many games in a short space of time,” he said.
“If I'd have been confident of having seven or eight more players in, I would have had maybe one or two more friendlies. But I've got the amount that I wanted – knowing where I'd be at this moment in time. Which is still five or six players short of a full squad.”
As for what he wants out of these next two games, Roeder was typically forthright.
“Match practice – which is very important. And fitness,” he said.
And a result?
“I want to win at tiddly-winks. I want to win at snap, so does that answer your question?”