If anyone needed any further evidence that the silly season is upon us story-wise, then the back pages of the Leicester Mercury duly delivered today.
Courtesy of an interview with Peterborough’s Director of Football, Barry Fry. In which he claimed that Posh striker Craig Mackail-Smith had “turned down” a move to first Norwich City and QPR in his quest for a new, Premiership employer this summer.
Instead, all things were pointing to a switch to Championship Leicester City – a fee between the two clubs now having been agreed for the much-admired Scottish international.
“Craig is facing a tough decision,” Fry told the paper. “He turned down Norwich and he has now turned down QPR.”
He had also spurned the advances of newly-relegated West Ham United, apparently.
“I have had several conversations with West Ham, but we have turned down their bid. I am certain they will be back,” added Fry, wondering aloud whether or not the Walkers Stadium will provide his final destination.
“We have accepted a bid from Leicester,” he said, the ball now left – once again – in the court of Mackail-Smith.
“Their manager Sven Goran Eriksson is out of the country at the moment, but was due to speak to Craig over the weekend.”
All of which might come as something of a blow to the two Glasgow giants, Rangers and Celtic. They too were lining up to talk to the free-scoring 27-year-old, whose 35-goals last term rightly commands much interest.
And inch after column inch of an otherwise quiet mid-summer as Fry hawks his boy around the circuit.
“Celtic and Rangers have also declared an interest, but my feeling is that Craig wants to have a go in the English Premier League,” were Fry’s thoughts at the start of the month – merely fuelling the speculation that the player might be Carrow Road-bound.
From a distance – and given the general furore that followed in his wake earlier this spring when the link was first aired – you wonder whether or not the powers that be at City simply wearied of the games people appear to play at London Road.
For a club that is almost religious in its silence when it comes to matters of a transfer nature, dealing with the ever loose-tongued Fry might have become all-too much trouble than it was worth.
Particularly now that they have already moved to snap up the services of first James Vaughan and then Steve Morison.
At the signing-in Press conference for the latter, Canary chief Paul Lambert gave every indication that his interest was now moving on to other areas of his squad – hence the move first for Brighton winger Elliott Bennett and then the year-long loan deal for versatile Manchester United defender Ritchie de Laet.
Quite why Mickail-Smith felt able to ‘turn down’ first Norwich and then QPR is, also, something of a mystery.
City boss Lambert might have a strict ceiling on the wages he is prepared to offer at the Norfolk club; money is never much of an issue in West London.
Both, however, offer the kind of Premier League stage that the one-time Dagenham & Redbridge striker was craving. Instead, he now has the offer of a season in the second-flight under the former England boss Eriksson.
Given that the Carrow Road club invariably like to put on something of a transfer ‘show’ to coincide with the Royal Norfolk Show and the players’ imminent return to pre-season training, Canary fans can expect the pace of transfer activity to pick up again this week.
Leeds United’s Bradley Johnson was widely reported to have agreed a free transfer swap to the Canaries after seeing out his contract at Elland Road. He has yet to show his face officially.
Whether de Laet proves to be the only defensive reinforcement and whether Arsenal’s England Under-21 star Henri Lansbury fancies another tour of duty under Lambert are just two of the questions that events of the next week might start to answer.