GEORGE Thorne has spoken of his relief when he heard Derby County and West Bromwich Albion had finally agreed a deal for his transfer.
Derby's chase for Thorne had become something of a saga.
The Rams had two bids rejected, the player had two requests to leave turned down and Albion dug their heels in.
Their stance then mellowed and Derby spotted their chance.
The deal for the 21-year-old midfielder was completed on Saturday morning. The fee is undisclosed, never a surprise these days, and the player has signed a four-year contract.
He is the signing Derby fans wanted to see happen.
They were thoroughly impressed by his performances as the anchor man in midfield during a loan spell last season. His only noticeable below-par display in 12 games was in the play-off semi-final first leg tie at Brighton, although he was excellent in the second leg and Derby's man-of-the-match in the final at Wembley.
Thorne became a key figure once he managed to break into the side and supporters started to feel a little concerned when the chase for his signature stretched into July.
A game of patience was always likely, especially after an article appeared in a national newspaper in which the player was quoted being openly critical of Albion.
That was not the best tactic and seemed to spark the Premier League club into a game of hardball.
But all that is in the past.
Thorne is now a Derby player, permanently, and is happy with the outcome.
"I'm delighted to become a Derby County player on a full-time basis. It dragged on a little bit but we got there in the end," he said.
"I was relieved when a fee was agreed. It is great to get everything done because, naturally, you have moments when you think it might not happen.
"Credit to the owners, [chief executive] Sam Rush and Derby County for sticking in there and getting a deal agreed."
Thorne is now with the Rams squad in Austria and is set to be involved in tomorrow night's friendly against Russian side Zenit St Petersburg.
"I knew, with the players going to Austria, it was a crucial time in terms of the transfer being finalised," he said.
"The Derby fans have been fantastic with me. When I've seen them in person they've been great, and also on social media websites. It is nice to put a smile on their faces."
Steve McClaren made no secret of the fact he wanted to sign Thorne. The Rams head coach said as much after defeat in the play-of final and he is delighted to have landed his target.
"I am sure the fans will be delighted to welcome him back and we are equally pleased that he sees Derby County as the right place for him at this point of his career," added McClaren.
"He was one of the first players I spoke about with our Head of Football Operations Chris Evans when he arrived in November. We were well aware of George's qualities when he joined us on loan in January.
"After being patient in waiting for his chance, he showed what he could do on the pitch. His level of performance was excellent.
"Once in the team, he never looked back. He improved game-by-game and you saw at Wembley that he was man-of-the-match, head and shoulders above anyone else on the field. He is a big asset."
Thorne is a graduate of West Brom's Academy and he made his first-team debut at 16 during the 2009/10 season.
He made 17 appearances for the Baggies and also spent time on loan at Portsmouth, Peterborough United and Watford, prior to linking up with Derby for a loan stint in January.