Queens Park Rangers striker Matt Smith has hinted to BBC Radio Five Live's Fighting Talk at how close Newcastle United actually came to landing Fulham star Tom Cairney on transfer deadline day, and it appears that the answer is not very close at all.
Cairney was sensational for Fulham last season, so it was perhaps unsurprising to many when the Telegraph suggested back in May that Newcastle wanted to sign the £20 million-rated playmaker ahead of their return to the Premier League.
Meanwhile, perhaps the most interesting report involving Newcastle during the final days of the window was the news coming out of The Sun which suggested that Fulham wanted to sign Dwight Gayle in a deal worth £15 million.
With both clubs seemingly interested in a player from the other team, the deadline day rumour - as reported by the Guardian on their live transfer feed (31st August 2017; 18:17 pm) - that Cairney and Gayle may be involved in a swap deal may have left many believing that something could be about to happen.
But unfortunately for those Newcastle fans who wanted Cairney, QPR striker Smith explained that there appeared to be little in the speculation as the midfielder himself found out about the rumour at the same time as those following deadline day on television.
Matt Smith was watching deadline day events unfold with Cairney
"I was actually sat with him on the sofa watching deadline day, and all of a sudden Bryan Swanson out of nowhere just goes, 'by the way, we're hearing that Tom Cairney's in for a swap deal with Dwight Gayle', and I looked at him and I just said, 'T, I've been sat with you for two hours, you've not mentioned a thing', he was like, 'I don't have a clue about this one'," he told BBC Radio Five Live's Fighting Talk.
Cairney himself appeared to back up Smith's anecdote on Twitter.
it was a strange experience I'll be honest!!! Deadline day madness https://t.co/x8wvKoxe8L— Tom Cairney (@ThomasCairney) September 2, 2017
Of course, there is a chance that Newcastle did make the suggestion to the Championship side, or vice versa perhaps, and the player never found out from the clubs simply because the suggestion was vetoed immediately.
And given how swiftly everything has to move on deadline day, perhaps the clubs decided to simply move on rather than inform the players involved of anything - but it certainly appears that a swap deal was considerably further away from being done than some Newcastle fans may have hoped.
Have something to tell us about this article?