From long-held rumour to fevered speculation and, finally, to seemingly hard and fast fact – Grant Holt is, indeed, heading back north this summer after Sky Sports reported that a transfer fee had been agreed with Wigan Athletic for the 32-year-old Canary skipper.
All that remains now is for the three-time City Player of the Season to agree personal terms with new Latics boss Owen Coyle and the curtain will finally fall on one of the greatest, individual careers in City’s history.
Nothing is ever done and dusted in football; there could yet be another twist in the tale if that personal deal fails to materialise; or a medical throws up something untoward.
But all fingers point towards an imminent exit for a player who will be revered for a long, long time in Canary circles.
He might not have played as many games as some; nor scored as many goals as others.
But in terms of the inspiration and impact Grant Holt delivered in his four, full seasons in Norfolk, few can match his achievements. It will be many a year before one player wins three, successive Player of the Season trophies; or, indeed, leads a team to back-to-back promotions before crowning that achievement with two, Premier League survival campaigns.
In many ways that final tally of 78 goals from 167 league and cup appearances only tells half the story; as important was the sheer force of his personality, both on the pitch and in the dressing room, and it is that that lifts the one-time tyre-fitter into the highest reaches of the club’s Hall of Fame.
He never gave in; never gave up. And he can return north with a grateful Canary Nation wishing his every success for the future.
They have a new hope and a fresh, potential hero in Dutch international striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel. Having seen off the challenge of one new strike arrival in the shape of Steve Morison, it was asking an awful lot of Holt to see out the final years of his City contract in the shadow of the freshly-arrived young Dutch master.
The time was ripe for a gracious exit. Last season’s reports of a new family home back in his native Cumberland all fitted the pattern; the JJB offers an easy commute down the M6 of a midweek morning.
That new Wigan boss Coyle was a fan of the City skipper had, likewise, long been trailed.
The local evening paper was putting two and two together and getting the requisite four for a while now as Coyle sought a replacement for Arouna Kone – bound, it would appear, for a swift reunion with ex-Wigan boss Roberto Martinez at Goodison.
“It’s fair to say we are looking for a minimum of two, possibly three, strikers, and we’re working desperately hard to make that happen,” Coyle told the Wigan Evening Post as the way was cleared for the Holt move.
“Arouna has done well for this club, but at this moment in time we need players who want to be here and want to take Wigan Athletic back into the Premier League,” added the former Bolton boss. “That gives us the chance at this early stage of summer to adjust our thinking and bring in the necessary quality to the forward line.”
Holt finished last season with eight goals to his name; fittingly he bowed out on a high with a goal at the Etihad Stadium in the stunning final day victory away at Manchester City.
It had been a long, hard slog; in common with the club’s campaign overall.
Forced all too often to plough that lonely furrow up top, Holt had stuck about his task with his usual determination – his leadership qualities still underpinning the fundamental charcter of the side.
But the Premier League is an unforgiving beast when it comes to the athleticism and the pace required to flourish at the next level up – something that boss Chris Hughton will have sought to address with the arrival of ‘The Wolf’.
But, that said, Holt can walk across the Wensum this evening with his head held high.
He did a magnificent job for Norwich City Football Club and almost as much as any other, one individual, completely transformed the fortunes of the Canaries. From lost in depths of League One to putting a Dutch international marksman into battle in the English Premier League in four, extraordinary seasons.
It is, quite literally, the stuff of legend.