Aston Villa were in negotiations with Championship strugglers Sunderland about a loan move for Ross McCormack in the January 2018 transfer window.
Would Sunderland have survived in the Championship last season if they had managed to conclude a deadline-day January deal for Aston Villa striker Ross McCormack?
What we do know for certain, however, is that the Scottish striker was on the verge of a move to the Stadium of Light 12 months ago.
Speaking to BBC Scotland, McCormack has confirmed that he was ready to help in Sunderland’s relegation battle, only for the deal to collapse at, quite literally, the last second.
“I was literally at the training ground to sign and for money reasons – I think Aston Villa maybe wanted more than what Sunderland could pay – that was it and I went home,” the 32-year-old said.
McCormack is one of the most prolific strikers to have played in the Championship in recent years.
He scored over 20 goals in a single second-tier season during spells at Cardiff City, Leeds United and Fulham before struggling after a high-profile £12 million move to Villa Park in the summer of 2016.
So it will always remain a mystery whether he could have kept Sunderland up.
These days, the 13-time Scotland international is back in his homeland, having joined Motherwell on loan until the end of the season.
McCormack has had similar temporary spells at Nottingham Forest, Melbourne City and Central Coast Mariners in the last two years.