Watford have done the dating thing. They've done a lot of growing up and, three years into their Premier League adventure, they're ready to settle down with a head coach long term. Marco Silva was meant to be that man but, unfortunately, he is drawing admiring glances from bigger clubs, namely Everton.
It makes a change for the Hornets not to be the ones doing the dumping. After all, since the Pozzo family takeover in the summer of 2012, they have had eight permanent head coaches. Even since promotion to the Premier League they've had three in as many seasons.
Quique Sánchez Flores was let go after keeping the Hornets in the top flight for the first time before Walter Mazzarri was moved on in May after an underwhelming season which still ended with the club's top-flight status secured.
Both decisions were roundly criticised by neutrals. But those closer to goings on at Vicarage Road knew both calls were correct. Now Watford's owners face a new situation; the possibility of having their head coach stolen from under their noses.
Everton have already seen two approaches, with compensation reaching £8.5million, rebuffed. According to The Daily Telegraph, an offer of £10million – with Silva seeing his wages boosted to £3.5million a year – has also been rejected and that is the end of that matter.
Watford should be lauded for trying to keep their man. After all, how often do we lament the fact contracts are not worth the paper they're written on. It was five months ago Silva agreed to leave Hull City and signed a two-year deal to become head coach of the Hornets.
There was surprise that Watford had been able to snare a coach who had done so well in five short months at the KCOM Stadium, picking the Tigers up from the floor, restoring their bite and very nearly getting them out of the trap they were caught in.
In the end Silva and Hull just ran out of time. But in the 22 games he had after replacing Mike Phelan, the former Sporting and Olympiacos boss saw his stock rise to an all-time high. Make no mistake, Watford were getting the captain of the cheerleading squad, despite not being one of the cool kids.
And for that reason, Silva has always been destined for bigger things. His career path so far indicates as much. He spent three years at Estoril, the club where he finished his playing career, winning the Segunda Division in Portugal. But apart from that he has never spent longer than a year in charge of a side.
Silva is an ambitious manager. And a move to a bigger club is inevitable in the same way it was clear long before the end of last season he would be staying in the Premier League regardless of whether he kept Hull up or not.
But after just five months of managing in England's top flight he was still seen as too green by most. That was why Watford were able to appoint him; let a smaller club take the gamble was the view of bigger teams and, if it works out, they'd be in for him sooner rather than later anyway.
Yet after just three months of the season Everton have decided Silva is the real deal and they are desperate not to be beaten to the punch. For Watford, this has come sooner than anticipated. The Hornets might have hoped Silva was their long-term squeeze but he gets a say in that too.
Is it a disaster for Watford, though? Clearly it's not ideal, but if any club in the Premier League is structured to deal with this it is the Hornets. They are, after all, masters of the ‘keep calm and carry on' mantra.
When Mazzarri and Watford parted company in May, non-executive chairman and CEO Scott Duxbury gave an insightful interview with BBC Radio 5 Live to explain the decision.
“We have to make the best use of our resources,” Duxbury explained. “That means when we invest in the medical department, when we invest in the sports science department, when we invest in all the infrastructure, that has to remain and has to succeed past coaches.
“In our opinion, coaches do have a limited shelf life. Either they’re very successful and will move onto a bigger club or they don’t quite work out and they move on.
“We can’t afford every time a coach moves on that our entire infrastructure goes every time that happens. So it’s a matter of using your resources; if that’s a continental model then so be it, but we’ve looked at this football club and how best to run it.”
Watford aren't the only Premier League club to operate with this model but they do it as well, if not better, than anyone. Swansea City rightly earned plenty of plaudits for a similar approach before their American takeover while Southampton have taken a similar view as they lost Mauricio Pochettino and Koeman to Tottenham and Everton.
Delve into the Hornets' coaching staff and you will find Gianni Brignardello, the head of sports science, has been at the club since 2013 when Gianfranco Zola was still head coach.
The same, too, for technical director Filippo Giraldi who began life at Watford as chief scout. He has worked his way up to being a major player in how the club recruit and that is one of the departments where responsibility is devolved from the head coach.
In the same interview with 5 Live, Duxbury said: “As a football club, we have long-term goals and ambitions and we’d very much like the coach to be aligned to that. So it’s a philosophical debate at the beginning – but, ultimately, for the coaches we bring in it’s about what can be achieved in that season.
“It’s not about him developing the academy, the infrastructure, the football in the community offering. That’s something that others in the football club do. All we want the head coach to do is develop the squad that’s given to him and get the best out of it and try move the team forward with the next season that’s coming.”
That's not to say the head coach has no input – they have almost all appointed their own assistants – but they are the most fluid part of the club's structure and that is why losing Silva would not be disastrous. It was always going to happen, although no-one would have expected the call to come quite yet.
The start Watford have made means they should be safe, only a catastrophic downturn in form could change that. At most other clubs losing your manager three months into the season might be enough to trigger that. But Watford have shown time and time again they were set up to cope with this.