The final day of the August transfer window could prove a bitter-sweet experience for Aston Villa fans today if Newcastle United succeed with a dramatic late bid to buy back Nolberto Solano.
On one front, Villa manager David O'Leary is hoping to complete his third signing in a week, and his second in 24 hours, by bringing in Leeds United midfielder Eirik Bakke.
With the ink barely dry on the #3.5 million signing of PSV Eindhoven defender Wilfred Bouma, O'Leary is now close to bringing in Bakke on a season-long loan in time to beat tonight's transfer deadline.
But, having switched straight from completing his sixth signing of the summer to trying to add a seventh, it would put a huge dampener on things if Solano (pictured) were to return to Tyneside.
Just hours after confirming that Michael Owen would sign for them today from Real Madrid in a #16 million move, Newcastle boss Graeme Souness has now made a further bid to increase the attacking power of his shot-shy outfit.
Newcastle fans have never forgiven their board, or the then manager Sir Bobby Robson, for allowing Solano to join Villa for #2 million just 19 months ago.
Although he is now 30 and has retired from international football, Villa would at least want their money back. And they might get more if Liverpool get involved in a bidding war for the tricky Peruvian winger.
Despite O'Leary's repeated denials that Villa have had an approach from Liverpool, the Merseyside jungle drums were still beating last night. And, if the Reds do decide to make up for the disappointment of not bringing Owen back to Anfield, then Solano remains a prime target for them too.
It would leave another huge hole if Solano went, but for the moment O'Leary will press on with the business of tying down Bakke.
After being linked with the likes of Lee Bowyer, Harry Kewell and Alan Smith in the past, if O'Leary is reunited with Bakke, then he would be the first player he has signed from his great days at Leeds, when he took the Yorkshire giants to the 2001 Champions League semi-finals.
The adaptable 6ft 2in Norwegian midfielder, 28 in a fortnight's time, is currently sidelined with a hamstring problem sustained on his last international stint two weeks ago.
The last-gasp burst of activity involving Bakke and Solano, who yesterday trained at Bodymoor Heath as per usual, has rather overshadowed the arrival of Bouma.
But the powerfully built 27-year-old Dutch defender, who helped PSV reach the Champions League semis last season, is pleased to have got his move to the Premiership.
"It was time for me to go," he said. "I wanted to see for
myself if there were possibilities in the Premiership.
"In the Premier League you have to be 100 per cent every week, against every opponent. "That is the beautiful thing about this competition. I can develop more here."
Having also been a target for Liverpool, Middlesbrough and Birmingham City, Bouma revealed that it was the selling skills of O'Leary which did most to help make up his mind.
"David O'Leary was a massive reason for my signing for Villa," said Bouma. "I had a great talk with him and he made it clear that he believes in me and my ability. That gives me confidence and that's important for me.
"Aston Villa are a great club and they did the most to get me.
"Villa made it very clear that they wanted to sign me and I made up my mind that I wanted to come here, so there was no changing that.
"I had a good feeling about Villa with their history of being a big club and the people I have spoken to from the club were all very helpful. That's why I chose Aston Villa. Villa Park is also a really great stadium and I know Villa want to be challenging at the top of the table. And I want to help, to do my best to improve the club."
Villa really pushed the boat out to get him, not just in terms of his fee, but the lengths they went to get him over here to undergo a medical and sign his four-year contract.
Bouma, who won the last of his 18 caps just a fortnight ago in a 2-2 draw against Germany, was with the Dutch national team ahead of their two World Cup games against Armenia and Andorra.
But Villa had to hire a private jet to bring him over from Holland, complete a routine medical scan in Sheffield early yesterday morning and fly him back to link up again with Marco Van Basten's squad.