At one stage Jack Ross did not think he would get his proven striker.
Sunderland had found their pursuit difficult and Ross, happy to have brought in Kazaiah Sterling from Spurs, was preparing to push on with what he had.
As it was, in the dying embers of the winter window Stewart Donald made Wigan Athletic an offer 'they couldn't refuse'.
A month-long chase finally reaching a positive conclusion for the Black Cats.
It is unquestionably an expensive deal, but the bottom line for Ross at least is that he has a player who can be relied on to match Josh Maja's remarkable contributions in the early part of the season.
Will Grigg is one of the very who would could have filled that void at this moment in time.
"So, when you lose your top scorer, so late in the window, and you didn't necessarily know [for sure] that you're going to lose him, you're playing catch up to a degree.
"I work quite logically, working through certain criteria.
"Working through that process, you're looking at a player who has probably had one of, if not the best goals-per-game ratio in this league in recent seasons.
"So that makes him a very obvious player to identify.
"Then you have to weigh up, is he available?
"He kind of was, then wasn't, then was.
"That's why he was the clear biggest target for us, he ticked every box in that sense."
Grigg's arrival changes the dynamic of Sunderland's January window.
It has been a fraught month, dominated by the departure of Maja.
That was a big blow for Ross and he has no intention of disguising that.
He hopes Grigg can compensate for that and believes that by and large, it has been a good month in which real quality has been added to his options.
"It's very hard to be dismissive of what Josh has given us this season," he said.
"He's scored that many goals. I'd point to the fact that, it would be like Doncaster losing John Marquis, Barnsley losing Kieffer Moore.
"You can't dismiss that and you can't replace that easily.
"But we've got the player in who, on paper, gives us the bets chance of replicating that over the second half of the season.
"Then if you look at other areas of the pitch, I think we've brought in good players," he added.
"We've not just filled the squad, we've already seen on the training pitch what we've got.
"Grant is a good player, Lewis is a good young player with a lot of potential.
"The other players have already seen that, I think they make their minds up very quickly and I think we've got good players."
Ross also confirmed that Grigg is fit again after rolling his ankle earlier in the month.
That had initially raised fears that a deal would be in jeopardy but the Northern Ireland striker could be back in action as soon as next week
"As far as I'm aware he was actually scheduled to start training again with Wigan today [Friday]," Ross said.
"That's what I'm led to believe.
"He's unlikely to train with us and therefore be involved against AFC Wimbledon.
"But thereafter he should be fit and well."