City boss Glenn Roeder proved true to his word this afternoon as he swiftly added extra defensive cover into his thinking in the wake of Jason Shackell's deadline day exit to Wolves.
Boro' 20-year-old Jonathan Grounds has joined on a three-month loan deal. Able to play at both left-back and on the left-hand side of central defence, Grounds is out of the same stable as Troy Archibald-Henville – Roeder's Premiership loan cover on the right.
For the 6ft 1in Grounds is, like Archibald-Henville, reserve team skipper at his full-time employer – suggesting that the young man has a little more than most about him.
He was also handed a new, two-year deal as recently as March – having made his first team debut two months earlier against Liverpool.
A product of the same Boro' youth system that churns out player after player, the Canary boss will be hoping he fares rather better than Norwich's last Boro loan signing – the luckless Matthew Bates who ruptured his cruciate knee ligaments for the third time in little more than 18 months shortly after his arrival at Carrow Road last season.
As welcome as Grounds' arrival is, it is but the entree to what Canary supporters will be desperately hoping to see later this evening – the main course of a big, strapping striker signed on a full-time basis to boot.
For if the Canaries had no more than a passing interest in the fate of Shola Ameobi this transfer window, then events down the road today will have done them no harm as Ipswich plumped instead for one-time Huddersfield boy-wonder Jon Stead.
The 6ft 3in Sheffield United striker has signed a half-season long loan deal with the Portman Road club – and all with a view to a reported ?1.25 million permanent move as and when the 2009 window re-opens in January.
With Alan Lee having departed for Palace before the weekend, Town boss Jim Magilton always had a large situation vacant in that department but having seen his own, ?2.4 million chase of Ameobi falter on a failed medical – and then for the 26-year-old, hamstrings and all, to start for United away at Arsenal this weekend – it was clearly a case of once-bitten, twice-shy for the Suffolk club. Time to move on elsewhere.
One school of thought has always been that Roeder would wait until the very, very last minute before returning back to Tyneside; that when everyone else had been and gone, there might be a chance for the Canaries to steal in at the death and dig Lee Clark's long-time pal out of St James'.
With Michael Owen reported to be an Everton target this afternoon and Kevin Keegan, Dennis Wise and Co likewise reported to be close to tying up a ?5 million deal for Deportivo La Coruna striker Francisco Jimenez Tejada, as ever everything is clear as mud on the banks of the Tyne.
Keegan did, at least, offer a small olive branch Ameobi's way on his return from Ipswich and that failed medical; and if the proof were in the selection pudding, the 26-year-old – still the highest goal-scorer on the club's books with 46 strikes to his name – was there at The Emirates as the Gunners brushed past the Magpies in front of their beer-swilling owner, Mike Ashley.
“Shola is back with us and he will be in full training on Monday. He's fit and I am quite happy to have him back,” Keegan told the Evening Chronicle at the time, as Magilton's bid to upstage Norwich's long-time interest in Ameobi failed.
Keegan also revealed the price; a price that could yet come down again as the midnight hour looms.
“For ?2.4 million where am I going to get a player like Shola?” he said. “He knows the Premier League and the club and he understands the area. I don't look at it as a minus at all.
“Who knows? He might be our top scorer this season ? I wouldn't put it past him. We all know players who were going to leave, but stay and have a great season and then sign a new contract.”
Whatever Keegan might say and believe, the impression remains that it is Ashley and his little transfer supremo Dennis Wise who will decide who comes and who goes. And if Ashley is convinced that Ameobi has had his day, he could yet be tempted to cash those chips in while he still has a club willing to take the one-time England Under-21 star in.
The fact that Roeder now has the Shacks cash to splash may likewise allow him to raise his sights somewhat.
For now, at least, there was still no immediate sign of the promised move of Bolton's Heidar Helguson arriving on a season-long loan; that was the claim in the Daily Mail this morning.
Indeed, the only piece of real news other than Master Grounds' arrival to report was Shackell's words on the completion of his move to Molineux – a four-year deal with the Championship leaders safely tucked away in his back pocket. And, indeed, with a medical now complete.
It was, he told the official Wolves site this afternoon, the right time for a move.
“I'd come through the Academy at Norwich and have been there for eight years,” he said. “And as much as I definitely loved my time there, it is also the right time to move on.”
Before he got too frustrated sitting in Dejan Stefanovic's shadow. From the Canaries point of view, the sight of Jez Moxey turning up with a cheque for one of five centre-halves now on the club's books had a fine sense of timing to it as Roeder looks to splash the cash ahead of the midnight hour.
“I'm leaving behind some good people and a lot of friends,” he told www.wolves.co.uk. “But to have the opportunity to move to a club like Wolves is one I'm really looking forward to.
“Wolves are clearly a big club with great facilities; the stadium and the training ground are superb; the pitch is in great condition and I just can't wait to get the deal done and then get to work.”
Elsewhere – or rather across the North Sea – and Rosenborg of Steffen Iversen fame were proving they had cash to spare when they were linked to a ?800,000 move for Ghanaian midfielder Anthony Annan – apparently beating both Manchester United and Arsenal to the 22-year-old's signature.
For many a City fan, it would be nice to think that the Norwegian club were merely spending the money that they were about to receive from Norwich for the 32-year-old striker – the one that Roeder has always wanted this summer once he presumed that Ameobi wouldn't be coming out to play in the Championship.
For now, however, that remained no more than that – a wish as the transfer merry-go-round prepared to spin long into the gathering night.