As David O'Leary ushers a new player, Milan Baros, through the door today, he also appeared to leave it slightly ajar for the exit of another, Nolberto Solano.
The Aston Villa manager said yesterday that he would not stand in the way of the Peru international winger if Solano tells him he wants to leave Villa Park. The if is significant.
Solano has been linked with a move to Liverpool as a makeweight in the Baros deal which should be signed and sealed when the Czech Republic striker undergoes a medical today.
Solano last week hinted he might prefer a switch to Anfield and has even been to see the manager about speculation linking him to Merseyside.
O'Leary, despite stressing he had received no communication from Liverpool, said: "I will never keep someone, at any club I am at, who wants to leave the club. That is the bottom line.
"I signed Nobby Solano and, for the price we paid, I could not believe we did not have any more opposition for him.
"But I will never keep anyone who wants to leave. The player came to see me and I told him no-one from Liverpool has made contact with me about it and Nobby was fine.
"I have heard rumours and everything else and I don't know where the rumour has come from.
"But Nobby has seen the headlines and he has asked about it. But no-one has made an offer to me."
One might have thought the doubt over Solano's future would be unsettling both to the player and the dressing room but O'Leary dismissed such fears.
"There are rumours every day in football and we worry about other things than that," he said.
Solano, who is out of contract at the end of the season, was only on the substitutes bench against Manchester United last weekend but O'Leary said he would start against Portsmouth tonight.
The Villa boss will be buoyed by the arrival of Baros after Villa and Liverpool agreed a fee which is reportedly close to the # 6.5 million compromise touted weeks ago. Medical tests allowing, Baros will sign a four-year deal.
Villa's operations director, Steve Stride, said last night: "We've reached agreement with Liverpool and the next step is the medical. Hopefully we can soon conclude the deal."
O'Leary has been tracking Baros for several weeks as he looks to bolster a strike force of only two senior players, Kevin Phillips and Juan Pablo Angel.
Villa are believed to have agreed an initial #6 million deal which could rise by another #500,000 based on add-ons. All this despite keen interest in the 23-year-old from Lyon who were said to be prepared to pay #8.5 million.
Baros is understood to be happy with the terms offered by Villa of around #30,000 a week which is a slight increase on his salary with the Reds. O'Leary is hoping events can move quickly enough for Baros to be available for Saturday's home clash with Blackburn.
Amid the off-field dealings it might be easy to forget that Villa play a Premiership match against Portsmouth tonight but O'Leary has not taken his eyes off the ball. Nor will he let his players.
Fratton Park can be a dangerous place for visiting sides and Portsmouth are desperate to get their Premiership campaign off the ground.
While Villa have only collected one point from their opening two games of the season - a 2-2 draw against Bolton and a 1-0 defeat at Manchester United - Portsmouth are pointless after losing to Tottenham Hotspur (2-0) and West Bromwich Albion (2-1).
O'Leary warned: "Going down to Portsmouth is always a tough game. The atmosphere down there is good and we will get a hard game there. But there are no easy games at this stage of the season for various reasons.
"We have already had two hard games, Bolton at home and Manchester United away, and Portsmouth away will be tough as well. Our attitude has been good but what we need is a cutting edge in attack. Hopefully we can start to produce that in the next two games. We have been playing good football and we need the goals to go with it."
Phillips, whom O'Leary must want to team with Baros in what should be a strike partnership, returns to the squad after a stomach strain kept him out of the United clash.
"It was too much of a risk to play him on Saturday as I could not afford to lose him for six weeks," said O'Leary.
"So it is nice to have him back for the game with Portsmouth."
But former England Under-21 international JLloyd Samuel requires a scan on the knee he hurt in a challenge with United skipper Roy Keane, and Patrik Berger may only return to the bench on Saturday.
Portsmouth goalkeeper Sander Westerveld, meanwhile, is urging his teammates to treat the game as their first match of the season.
Westerveld, who played in the Liverpool team which won the FA Cup, League Cup and Uefa Cup in 2001, has accepted his share of the blame after conceding soft goals in both matches.
He insists now is the time for supporters to show their trust in manager Alain Perrin and his new-look side, but accepts: "We have let ourselves down so far."
Westerveld, who returned to the Premiership after spells with Real Sociedad and Real Mallorca, said: "We will need an improved performance as well as the points but I am sure we will get them.
"This would be a good moment to make a new start to the season. We need points but it only two games have gone."