In early December the talk was of a ten million pound transfer war chest. This was quickly revised down to eight million. Then it was announced that Bates would stay on, first as Chairman, then as President. Then all talk of buying new players stopped: suddenly it was about securing those on loan, except, perhaps, for a striker. Then the first real test was failed, with Warnock's number one target Wood joining promotion rivals Leicester because Leeds could not compete financially with the little club from the Midlands.
Now, suddenly, the talk is of RETAINING players, with assistant manager Mick Jones admitting that Becchio and Byram will be in demand and confessing "I’ve got to say, I’m more worried about players leaving the club than I am about players coming in."
That sounds pretty frightening to me. If Leeds couldn't compete with Leicester on Woods' wages, how are they going to persuade Becchio and Byram to accept salaries of 15k per week or less if Premiership clubs come knocking? Wigan have already been linked with the free scoring Becchio and how galling would it be if Leeds could not fight off the smallest of minnows from the league above them?
Jones goes further and admits that if big offers come in, players WILL leave. He quotes ten million as an extreme example for Byram but the real question is, what figure would prise him away from Leeds? Eight million? Six million? Five million? Four million? Three? Two? The very fact that Jones has come out and said this suggests that something may happen.
Normally, in Leeds' position, you hear a "We will not sell under any circumstances" pledge and the exact reverse of what Jones has just said, something along the lines of, "It's not a question of who we sell but who we buy this window".
Last week, Leeds fans were looking forward to the window with a degree of expectation, but suddenly, thanks to Jones, some will be thinking the window can't close early enough. Becchio's contract expires in 18 months' time and his value decreases by the day. Maybe, just maybe, a bank might see him purely as an asset with a depreciating value, seeing January as a time where inflated values can be achieved as Premiership clubs desperate to survive come knocking. Newcastle? Wigan? Villa? QPR? They can all afford Becchio and may just bid for him. Will GFH pass the supporters' test, or will they follow the guidance of the Chairman?