It is difficult to know which will stir the emotions among Birmingham City fans the most - the loss of a local hero or the return of a star from a foreign land. Expect fury over the one and jubilation over the other.
West Bromwich Albion are believed to be preparing an audacious bid to buy Darren Carter from Birmingham City. The thought of losing the man who scored the penalty that sent Blues into the Premiership will be anatema to most of the club?s supporters.
They might be appeased, however by the re-signing of Mikael Forssell which is expected to be announced later today at a hastily arranged press conference.
Carter?s switch of allegiance therefore may be offset by the snatching of Forssell from under the noses of Everton.
Bryan Robson, the Albion manager, is a firm fan of the tough tackling 21-year-old and regards him as the ideal player to strengthen the Baggies? midfield next season.
Several Premiership clubs have been chasing Carter, who secured his place in Birmingham?s folklore with a cool penalty in the 2002 Division One play-off final victory over Norwich. Wigan and Sunderland, where he had been on loan this season, were desperate to recruit the player.
But Albion look to have won the battle ? and it is understood it will be a permanent move rather than a season-long loan. Sources at Sunderland last night admitted defeat in their attempt to lure Carter from St Andrews.
Meanwhile, Albion insiders confirmed that dialogue between Albion chairman Jeremy Peace and Birmingham City managing director Karren Brady is well underway.
Albion?s willingness to make the transfer permanent was the reason others had lost out.
Last night it emerged that Albion are ready to offer a substantial sum to land Carter, maybe as much as #1.8 million.
Meanwhile Blues have called a press conference this afternoon at which they are believed to be unveiling Forssell.
Finland international Forssell looked all set to join Everton in a #4.5 million deal but the move collapsed after the Merseyside club expressed concern over his long-term knee problem. Brady is thought to have thrashed out a compromise package with Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon. Mateja Kezman, who is also surplus to requirements at Chelsea, is another name that has been linked to Blues although he is also being tracked by La Liga outfit Sevilla.
The Premier League champions are keen for a straight cash deal for Forssell but Birmingham would prefer a pay-as-you-play agreement or to take him on another loan.
They know only too well of Forssell?s knee condition which meant that his second season on loan was cut short last September after just a handful of appearances.
Forssell was an outstanding success in the 2003-04 campaign when he netted 19 goals for Birmingham ? including 17 in the Premiership.
But hopes of forging a partnership with Emile Heskey ? signed from Liverpool for a club record #6.25million last summer ? were cut short by the knee complaint which sidelined the Finnish player for seven months.
Birmingham manager Steve Bruce, who returns from holiday today, has always spoken of his desire to re-sign Forssell if he can prove his knee is capable of standing up to the rigours of a Premiership campaign.
Bruce knows that he has to supplement his strike force and in the January transfer window the club agreed a #6million fee with Newcastle for Craig Bellamy, only for the player to join Celtic on loan.
He is also still negotiating to complete the signing of Deportivo La Coruna forward Walter Pandiani on a permanent basis after a loan spell at City from January.
Bruce?s other main summer transfer target was Chelsea midfielder Scott Parker ? also wanted by Everton ? although he has made it clear he wants European football, which Birmingham cannot provide.
Carter remains a huge favourite at St Andrews ? but even Blues boss Steve Bruce admitted that his promotion securing penalty had probably been a double-edged sword. Bruce said: ?If Blues had remained in Division One, Carter would have had much more first team action.?
Robson has been a longterm admirer of Carter?s and his name has been on the Albion manager?s priority list. With Andy Johnson still struggling with injury and Jason Koumas on the transfer list Robson needs to strengthen in midfield.