It was always the easiest answer to that �1.5 million black hole question.
As in what can the Canaries do in a hurry to paper over that �1.5 million funding hope left by the Turners sudden departure this summer?
And the answer? Get West Ham to flog Dean Ashton. Hefty sell-on kicks in; job done.
Now, however, that particular prospect looks dead in the water with reporst suggesting that the 24-year-old could be out for the bulk of the season with a worrying ankle injury.
As in very worrying given that he's already missed the whole of one season after breaking his ankle on his first full England call-up.
Zola's first training session and over he goes again. And what was 'Nothing to worry about…' becomes an exploratory op and four weeks off becomes 'bulk of the season' according to today's News Of The World. And given that most of those boys are big Hammers fans, they're likely to know.
Because what's the killer line there is 'bulk of the season…' – as in January transfer window where crisis club Spurs could have been widely expected to renew their interest in the ex-City striker.
By all accounts, the White Hart Lane club were in at �18 million for Ashton over the summer. Which, given that City sold him for �7.25 million, would leave them looking at their sell-on share of �11 million… Mmmm. That's the Turner hole covered.
Alas, the Hammers played hard ball.
“Hell would have to freeze over for us to sell Dean to a major rival,” was the chief exec's words to the News of the Screws over the summer. Though, that said, there was talk that Curbishley's decision to walk was, in part, inspired by the board's determination to sell both Ashton and Bellamy off to the highest bidder – whatever the manager thought.
For with Sheffield United now sniffing �30 mill in compensation off the Hammers on the back of last week's latest Tevez ruling, you can't help but wonder whether old Scott Duxbury might not be having one or two second thoughts about hell and freezing over…
Cos as good a player as Deano is, he was always a fragile, physical beast; tight hamstrings and now a problematic ankle.
Should have taken the money and run Scott… and given the Canaries their slice….