The chances of Gary McSheffrey wearing a darker shade of blue next season seem to have disappeared completely after the striker claimed he would never ask to leave Coventry City.
That, combined with the insistence of Birmingham City manager Steve Bruce that he would not be held to ransom for the 23-year-old, all but kills the transfer after several weeks of wrangling.
The Sky Blues' forward emerged as a target for Bruce at the end of last season and his interest became more intense once Emile Heskey was sold to Wigan Athletic.
In recent weeks Bruce has lodged two bids for McShef-frey, including one of £2 million plus incentives, for a player who was Coventry's leading scorer last term.
But both were rejected by his counterpart at the Ricoh Arena, Micky Adams, who claimed the youngster was worth 50 per cent more.
That prompted Bruce, after Saturday's friendly defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, to say he would move on to other targets if Coventry failed to reach an agreement.
But the final nail has been hammered in by McSheffrey himself as he sought to allay fans' fears that he was angling for a big-money move.
"I can tell the fans 100 per cent that I'm not unsettled and I haven't once asked to leave this club and I won't," McSheffrey said. "I just try and get on with it and train hard. I'm a Coventry player."
Adams was equally emphatic about the player's future. "When I first arrived at this football club, I don't know whether it says a lot about the player or me, but we were offered £80,000 for him," Adams said.
"I believe he's worth £3 million now, so that's either good coaching from me or the sign of a good player. We are hopefully going to build a side around Gary, he's a local boy.
"You can never say never in this game as money does talk but, having said that, the bids we have received from Birmingham City we've politely declined."
And with McSheffrey scoring in Coventry's 2-0 pre-season victory over Notts County at the weekend, the price could be going up rather than down.
Birmingham are on the other end of the equation that involves Jermaine Pennant and Liverpool, having already turned down one offer of £3.5 million and uncertain as to the Anfield club's intentions.
Bruce confirmed the Premiership side had made one bid but given that Blues' must pay Pennant's former employers, Arsenal, a quarter of whatever they get for the winger, he wants considerably more.
That has led to speculation that Rafael Benitez will return with an offer of £5 million after he missed out on his last-ditch attempt to take Damien Duff to Mersey-side. Developments are expected later this week.
Birmingham's friendly at Boston United has been moved from Saturday July 29 to the following Monday, with a 7.45pm kick off.
Meanwhile, James Scowcroft will today join Crystal Palace from Coventry after the two clubs agreed a fee of £500,000 for the striker.
The 29-year-old, who worked under Eagles boss Peter Taylor at Leicester City, underwent a medical yesterday afternoon before signing a three-year contract.
The former Ipswich striker made 44 appearances for the Sky Blues last season, scoring three goals, with Adams praising his impact at the Ricoh Arena.
But the manager was resigned to losing his man when Scowcroft was tempted by better wages at Selhurst Park: "He's been offered more money and feels it's something he wants to pursue," Adams said.
"He's got two years left on a deal here but I think half a million, when I bought him in for nothing, is a fantastic deal for us."
He added: "I'm disappointed. I've had him at two clubs now and he's done a fantastic job for me.
"While he may not be a fans' favourite, if you ask his teammates, everybody respects the job he's tried to do."