Most transfer tales usually follow a certain script – and that of Steve Morison is proving no exception.
The 27-year-old Millwall striker has, it appears, been the subject of two, foiled bids from Norwich City for his six-foot two-inch services.
The Lions – fresh from negotiating a new deal for their star turn in February that, in theory, ties his to the New Den till 2013 – aren’t in any mood to see their one-time Stevenage striker walk. Even with a fat, Premiership-style cheque attached.
Boss Kenny Jackett has plucked the lad from relative non-league obscurity and polished something of a rough diamond up into a genuine Championship goal threat. Little wonder that the Lions chief is in little mood to deal.
Steve Morisons don’t grow on trees. So – for now – they dismiss City’s offer and leave Morison to guess what might be on offer at Carrow Road next August; over and above Premiership football, of course.
Which, clearly, is more than enough to spark the striker’s interest.
It will be something of a given that any potential Canary offer will out-strip his current Millwall deal. That he and his agent will take as read. A better wage packet lies at the end of the A11.
But what makes Millwall’s hand that much weaker is the fact that they are going round the Championship block again, as the Canaries get to taste the high life on offer at Old Trafford, Anfield and The Emirates.
That’s what is floating Morison’s boat; that’s what makes all the difference here – that at 27-years-old, he doesn’t know whether such opportunity will ever knock again. Like every footballer, he is one smashed ankle away from returning to Civvy Street.
But like Grant Holt, the one-time tyre-fitter, Morison has more idea than most professional footballers as to what ‘Civvy Street’ entails – 4am starts collecting paper to shred across central London. Hence the hunger in his belly; hence the haste to get on; hence the interest of a Paul Lambert.
No doubt, Morison has already banked enough not to return to shredding paper for a living, but he’s dragged himself up all the way up through the leagues, from the depths of Bishops Stortford upwards – and there ain’t anyone going to stop him now.
Not when a ticket to the top flight is almost within touching distance.
“I want to play in the Premier League,” he told BBC Wales on Friday, after his latest international outing.
“I might not get another opportunity. The Premier League is where everyone wants to play and I want to try to take it if they [Millwall] let me.”
Those are the killer lines: ‘I might not get another opportunity…’
That’s what Jackett will have to fight against; the belief that Morison could still play top flight football with the Lions – only not next season. Maybe the one after. Maybe. If Reading, Cardiff, Blackpool, Birmingham City, Leeds United and Co don’t deny them.
It will be a tough sell. And Jackett knows that he risks a summer of discontent with his main man should Millwall’s current stance prevail.
Equally, stumble into any Millwall chat-room and you suspect that Morison’s relationship with the South London punters is already strained. To say the least.
To sign a new deal in February, only to throw in a transfer request three months later is not the way to endear yourself to any set of supporters; let alone a following as tribal and as passionate as Millwall for whom ‘loyalty’ remains such a big word.
For some, no doubt, he has already crossed a line.
That fact will, likewise, not be lost on Jackett. Nor the Millwall board.
From the City end, the policy will be to sit tight and wait and see whether they remain the only show in town now that the game is a-foot. Fulham were reported to be in the hunt in January.
The Canaries will do well to have a ‘clear run’ at the player. In fact, Morison’s Mr 15 Per Cent wouldn’t be doing his job properly if his client’s potential availability wasn’t being broadcast loud and clear.
And it is a game. It’s always a game.
People play their parts; Jackett and Millwall act outraged and stamp their feet – invariably in the pretty-sure knowledge that, sooner or later, a deal will need to be done.
Better to get one, souring apple out of the barrel before a season starts than risk a whole dressing room going off.
And when it is done, they will play their own game with a Stevenage or a Bishop’s Stortford – offering the next Steve Morison the chance of Championship football. And so the game continues.
City simply sit back in the certain knowledge that a ticket to the Premier League is pretty much a trump card in these circumstances.
Deals get done.
It’s the way football works. Sometimes you just have to bide your time a-while.
The losers, as ever, are the supporters – particularly those of whom still try and put ‘loyalty’ and ‘football’ in the same sentence.
Nineteen times out of 20, it doesn’t work. The chances of Morison sitting there, his transfer requested rejected and saying: ‘Oh, OK… never mind, eh…’?
About nil. As all concerned know.