If Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was in any sort of mood to throw his hand in with the Canaries this week, a combination of Peter Ridsdale, the Professional Footballers Association and Norwich's next opponents could yet seal the deal.
The 36-year-old former Chelsea ace was a surprise guest in the directors box at Carrow Road this weekend – an appearance that immediately set the tongues wagging as Norwich's chronic lack of conviction in the final third of the pitch continues to haunt their start to the season.
Currently a free agent after a bitter fall-out with Ridsdale's Cardiff City this summer, the former Bluebirds striker could yet fit Norwich's short-term needs to a 'T'.
And the fact that Hasselbaink could – in theory – make his debut against Cardiff City this weekend might be all the incentive the Dutchman needs to sign on the dotted line.
Longer term and he could yet provide the kind of dressing room, mentor figure that Dion Dublin offered last season – should, of course, his surprise appearance in the directors box prove to be rather more than a coincidence.
In the meantime, however, both he and Ridsdale are expecting to hear a ruling from the PFA “within a matter of days” as to who said what to whom over Hasselbaink's proposed second year deal at the Ninian.
Allegedly, despite making the 44 appearances that would trigger a second-year option in his original Bluebirds deal, Hasselbaink verbally agreed to waive this; enabling the cash-strapped Cardiff club to bundle him out of Ninian Park this summer.
Hasselbaink has refused to comment on the matter; saying that it was all now in the hands of his lawyers.
Ridsdale, however, used his hour-long appearance on the club's own radio phone-in show – GTFM – to put his side of the story across to the listeners; his words then being repeated first by the local South Wales Echo and then on their website, www.walesonline.co.uk.
The former Leeds United supremo was bullish as to the chances of the PFA finding in the football club's favour.
?I expect a deal to be done that is totally acceptable to the football club – and it will happen within a matter of days,? he told listeners.
He did, however, admit that he “made a mistake” with Hasselbaink; that he did not get the Bluebirds striker to put his second-year waiver down in writing. Hasselbaink – who grabbed nine goals in his 44 appearances for Cardiff; including an FA Cup stunner en route to Wembley – appeared to be working on the basis that a gentleman's word was his bond.
Alas, something appears to have got lost in translation as both parties reached for the lawyers.
?I made a mistake with Jimmy,” admitted Ridsdale, speaking on GTFM at the end of last week. ?He agreed in a meeting with Dave Jones and I to waive a particular clause in his contract.
?I did put that in writing and asked him to return a signed copy, but Jimmy said he felt his word was enough and, if not, what relationship did we have?
?I did not force the issue and that was a mistake. Dave Jones and I met Jimmy two weeks ago and there were not too many differences between us over what was said at the original meeting. Hopefully, everything will be sorted out quickly.?
The big difference appears to be whether or not he had agreed to waive that second year – a new, 12-month deal that, according to the South Wales Echo, would have earned Hasselbaink the better part of ?1 million. Just under ?20,000 per week.
Again, according to the paper, any settlement brokered by the PFA could see the possible Canary target “receive a fraction of that in his pay-off agreement”.
Whether Hasselbaink would be looking for a similar pay packet out of the Canaries for one last season of Championship football is for City boss Roeder to discover – that and just what the 36-year-old has left in the legs training-wise.
Given that money might be no option these days, he could yet be happy to take a pay-as-you-play deal – particularly if it came with a debut at Cardiff City (a) attached.
All concerned Ridsdale, Bluebirds boss Dave Jones, Hasselbaink and his agent Humphrey Nijman reportedly spent eight hours in talks with PFA chairman Peter Taylor in Manchester at the end of last month – all in a bid to avoid the whole messy saga being dragged before a full-blown tribunal.
?Jimmy was happy to renegotiate the clause when we talked to him,? said Ridsdale, speaking after last month's marathon PFA meeting.
The second year clause was reportedy triggered when the player reached 25 appearances. ?I took the view that I had said it in writing, Dave Jones was with me at the time and we accepted a verbal agreement,? added Ridsdale.
Interestingly Hasselbaink's fellow big-name signing, Robbie Fowler, also had a one-year option in his original Cardiff contract; Paul Ince rode to their rescue there by offering the injury-hit striker a final Premiership chance at Blackburn this summer.
Whether or not Fowler had a similar 25-game clause mattered little given that the hip injury limited him to just 16 appearances.
Given their magnificent fun and games in the FA Cup last season – only losing to Portsmouth 1-0 in the final – it has been something of a bumpy landing for the South Wales side this summer.
Over and above the whole, sour-tasting Hasselbaink affair, 17-year-old boy wonder Aaron Ramsey was whisked off by Arsenal for ?5 million having made less than a dozen Championship starts, while this week centre-half Glenn Loovens disappeared to Celtic for ?3 million having rejected Cardiff's offer of a new deal.
Out of contract next summer and 24, the Dutchman would have walked for nothing next year.
Quite what reception Hasselbaink would be granted by the Ninian natives if he walked onto the pitch next Saturday in a Canary shirt is anyone's guess – though you suspect that Ridsdale, in particular, might be loathe to find out. Hell might hath no fury like a second-year scorned.