As Darius Vassell spent the first of many important days in Manchester the man soon to become his former manager, Aston Villa's David O'Leary, claimed the striker had gone 'stale' with the club he had supported since boyhood.
Vassell travelled north yesterday to undergo a medical and agree personal terms after O'Leary agreed to sell the 25-year-old to Manchester City in a £2.5 million deal that is expected to be finalised today.
Unfortunately for the Birmingham-born forward he did not reach his new employers until late in the evening and will go through what should be a routine examination in the next few hours. But it seems certain that his seven-year senior career with the club he grew up loving has come to a sad end.
Earlier in the day O'Leary had left the door open for the forward in the unlikely event that the move would fall through when he claimed that there might yet be a slip 'twixt Villa Park and Sports City but his latest pronouncements only serve to confirm the suspicion that Vassell is surplus to requirements in Aston.
O'Leary said: "I think people have been saying the same things about Darius for so many years. He's got set in his ways a little bit and his car probably knows the way to the training ground on its own. I have to say he's a lovely boy and I felt he needed a new challenge.
"The bottom line is we were looking for more goals from Vass. His record speaks for itself. He's not exactly been prolific for us and that's where he'll be looking to improve at Manchester City.
"I'm sure he'll look to get back into the England team with this move. We wish him well if it happens. He's been a lovely boy to deal with here and we never had any problems with him whatsoever."
Vassell will have to concentrate on getting into Stuart Pearce's side first and that will mean seeing off either Andy Cole or Robbie Fowler to do so - two of the most prolific strikers of the last decade.
Goal-scoring has not been his forte in recent months as he finished the last campaign with only three goals from 17 starts after missing four months with a broken ankle.
Meanwhile, defender Martin Laursen looks set to miss the start of the season after a recurrence of a long-term knee injury. The Denmark centre-half has returned from the club's pre-season tour of Sweden and is due to have a scan.
Laursen endured a difficult first term after joining from AC Milan last summer, with his troublesome joints limiting him to 12 Premiership matches.
The Dane's problems and Vassell's departure will intensify the need for O'Leary to bring in experienced replacements with City's Sylvain Distin and Liverpool's Milan Baros the most likely contenders.
However, the Czech's future at Anfield seemed to brighten yesterday when manager Rafael Benitez said that the attacker still had a future with the club.
"We're thinking about the future. He's a good player and he's our player. He's here and he's in the squad and has possibilities for tomorrow's [Tuesday] match," Benitez said in reference to Liverpool's Champions' League qualifier with FBK Kaunas.