Leeds United's transfer window: Loan clauses and Willy Gnonto stand-off hampering Daniel Farke's rebuild - Stuart Rayner
Even the best-intentioned clubs can be caught cold at the start of a new season, with a transfer window wide open but Leeds have taken it to new extremes this season.
Beyond those released in the summer, nine players have left at the time of writing with more still to come. Leeds are trying to take a tough stance with Willy Gnonto, but in most other cases, they have had little choice but to wish players the best and wave them goodbye.
Losing so many players - even good ones - is just a fact of life after Premier League relegation but the fact that seven have gone on loan is what is so damaging to them and their prospects of bouncing straight back.
Quite simply, the hierarchy of the last few years - which the current owners were a big, if not a majority part of - tried to be too kind to their players and now wish they had not.
The idea of loaning out one or two key players to come back and strengthen the side when the club (it hopes) finishes its own one-season loan to the Championship is attractive, because parachute payments and sales elsewhere give you that leeway.
But so far, the only transfer fees Leeds have been able to bring in this summer are relatively small ones for Rodrigo and Tyler Roberts.
The rest were able to negotiate release clauses in their contracts which ensured that if Leeds were relegated, in return for the big pay cut standard in modern Premier League contracts, they would be allowed to leave on loan.
The agent of Gnonto who joined last summer without such a clause, should be feeling a bit embarrassed now as his client tries to strop his way out of the club.
With Daniel Farke's track record, you would back him to build a Championship-challenging squad on a tight budget, but this is bordering on shoestring with all the bodies needed to strengthen for a 46-game season.
Leeds were presumably banking on the stature of the club and their own powers of persuasion keeping players in the second tier for a 12-month tilt at promotion.
That even Jack Harrison has joined the exodus - signing for Everton on loan - showed what a delusion that is.
Having said that, those who signed contracts without these clauses have to honour them.
Farke has been in this boat before with Norwich City, and won.
Gnonto should take a leaf out of the book of Callum Styles, who wants and deserves to be playing Championship football, but finds himself in League One.
This August, as last, he has had honest discussions with his club, reached sensible agreements and realised the best way to get a move is to play high-quality football, not cause problems on the sidelines.
He left Barnsley of League One for Millwall of the Championship a year ago and is now back at Oakwell, featuring in all three games of the Reds’ start to the season.
Forget professionalism, Gnonto, pictured, just needs to show Leeds United – the club and a fanbase sick of being disrespected – some decency.