Tomasz Kuszczak has finally left West Bromwich Albion to join Manchester United in a complicated move that involves two other players.
Kuszczak, the Poland international goalkeeper, will move to Old Trafford on a season-long loan deal with a view to a permanent transfer. Moving in the opposite direction are Luke Steele, the former England Under-18 goalkeeper, and Paul McShane, an Irish centre-half, who has played for Brighton & Hove Albion.
Bryan Robson, the Albion manager, has long resigned himself to losing Kuszczak but he appears to have done well out of the deal.
Kuszczak has been inspirational over the past two seasons, most notably during Albion's match away to Everton last season.
Steele, aged 21, impressed during a loan spell with Coventry City two seasons ago and he will compete with Pascal Zuberbuhler and Russell Hoult for a first-team place. McShane, aged 20, was voted the player of the season by Brighton supporters over the summer.
Robson's desire to sign McShane came after Danny Shittu turned down Albion in favour of a move to Watford. He said: "I know the two lads from when I did some coaching with United's reserves a few years ago. The one thing you get when you sign 20-21 year olds from United is that they've nearly always got a great attitude towards the game and training.
"You can sometimes get real good players from United because the players in front of them are such outstanding players. Both Luke and Paul have played international football at youth level and they have very good potential.
"With Tomasz going on loan with the possibility of a permanent move and the two young lads coming to us, it's a great deal for this club. Luke has done well in the Championship before. We feel he's got improvement in him and Joe Corrigan has already shown he can improve keepers at this football club.
"The fact Paul was voted Player of the Year at Brighton despite being a young lad in a struggling side shows what he's all about. He's not the tallest but he makes up for that with his aggression - he attacks the ball really well. We feel he will only get better playing alongside the lads we've got here."
Albion have a policy of strengthening the squad rather than weakening it, although Robson accepts the reality of the situation. When United try to sign a player, they usually succeed. Jeremy Peace, the chairman, is equally realistic.
"The club thought long and hard before sanctioning Tomasz's loan move," Peace said. "I have had several meetings with the player who expressed a very strong desire to join United, with the potential of playing in the Premier-ship and Champions League.
"In the end, we felt that these were exceptional circumstances and that we would be denying Tomasz a major career opportunity if we insisted on him staying. Having said all that, we were only prepared to let Tomasz leave if it suited Albion and the way this deal has been constructed does suit us."
Steele appeared with McShane, who has attracted further interest from Championship clubs this summer, in the United team that won the FA Youth Cup in 2003.
Yesterday was a significant day for Robson. He awoke to receive that news that Nathan Ellington, the Albion striker, could be fit for the match away to Southampton tomorrow afternoon.
Ellington limped out of the game against Cardiff City on Tuesday night with a hamstring injury and there were fears that the player could be out for six weeks. But Ellington's injury is not as significant as first feared, although Robson gives the striker a "50-50 chance" of being fit to face Southampton.