Leeds United are set to lose defender Pontus Jansson to Sky Bet Championship rivals Brentford for a cut-price fee of £5.5m.
The Swedish international has been a regular at the heart of the Leeds back line since his arrival from Torino in 2016, but a positive spell is set to end on negative terms.
The player's attitude has been given as the reason behind his departure. A complete breakdown in relationship with head coach Marcelo Bielsa has seen Jansson moved on, although the Bees are an unexpected destination.
A fan favourite who was front and centre when things were going well, his absence when times were tough is just one of the reasons Leeds will be better off in the long run from this move.
The deal has, understandably, caused an outcry from the Elland Road faithful. Jansson's price tag should be twice as much as the fee they are receiving, but this isn't a transfer done in normal circumstances.
The fact that Leeds, Bielsa and Jansson were all happy with a £5.5m move should indicate everything we need to know about the situation. With Premier League sides previously expressing an interest, a quickfire sale to a fellow second tier club was the preferred route.
It shows the extent of the problems seemingly present. Although with hindsight the outcome shouldn't be a surprise, given what we've seen at various points during Jansson's time in West Yorkshire.
The above video is just one example where we can see the potential problems. Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani is pitchside to greet his players after their away defeat at QPR, one that started to derail their promotion push.
Every member of the Leeds side interacts with him as they walk off the pitch. The only one not to was Jansson, who walks past and tries to avoid all contact.
It's not the only time we've seen incidents on the pitch. Leeds faced Sheffield United in March, with the two sides battling for automatic promotion.
With 90 minutes on the clock, goalkeeper Kiko Casilla was shown a straight red card, and despite Pablo Hernandez grabbing the gloves and shirt, Jansson ended up going in net.
However, the shirt went on, but the gloves didn't, which were thrown into the back of the net. The Leeds players screamed at him to wear them, but Jansson kept refusing, before reluctantly placing them on ahead of the free-kick being taken.
It doesn't seem much on the surface, but it could indicate his status among the squad. The majority united in one decision, with Jansson deciding the opposite for a reason that didn't seem to make much sense.
A month later, Leeds welcomed Aston Villa to Elland Road in the penultimate game of the campaign. With Mateusz Klich scoring despite an injury, Bielsa ordered his side to allow their opponents to score.
They expressed unhappiness with his decision, but accepted it. That was all but one, with Jansson trying to stop the Villa players from finding the net.
"Jansson didn’t want to obey the indication I gave," Bielsa said after the game.
"That diminishes my authority and I don’t know what the consequences are when you lose respect from a player. He didn’t want to give up something that we had worked so hard to reach."
These are seemingly minor issues across the course of a season, but combined it starts to create a picture that Jansson could have been a difficult member of the squad, one who could prove more harm than good for a side aiming for the Premier League.
Leeds with Pontus Jansson starting last season
- Games - 37
- Wins - 18
- Draws - 6
- Losses - 13
- Points per game - 1.62
- Win ratio - 48.6%
- Clean sheets - 29%
- Goals conceded per game - 1.21
Leeds without Pontus Jansson starting last season
- Games - 11
- Wins - 8
- Draws - 2
- Losses - 1
- Points per game - 2.25
- Win ratio - 72%
- Clean sheets - 54%
- Goals conceded per game - 0.81
It's not just the personality though, but we've seen that Leeds were statistically a better side without Jansson's involvement in the Championship last season.
Bielsa's side managed to keep clean sheets against Rotherham, Middlesbrough, Ipswich, Bristol City, Reading and Derby - three of those sides being promotion contenders.
There was also a single defeat, that being in the play-off semi-final second leg against the Rams where Leeds seemingly hit self-destruct despite being in control of the tie.
Ultimately, the statistics will show how Leeds seemingly benefited from his absence, but they will also highlight his impact in the division.
What the stats don't show is personality, commitment and squad harmony. Those with the best individual players are never always the most successful teams, it's those with the correct balance who flourish.
That's not to say that Brentford have got a bad deal here. Jansson is a Premier League quality defender on his day, and if they can keep his attitude in check then they can consider this a great bit of business.
A change of scenery might benefit the player, a new manager to work with in a new environment with different teammates may bring out a better side in him.
However, Brentford have fallen short in attempts for promotion, and it could be another test of character if they are unable to secure a top-six finish.
Leeds will have a gap to fill in defence, but one that isn't an impossible task, despite the figure being considerably lower than a sale in different circumstances.
Sheffield United's back five last season was signed for the same price as the Jansson sale, which shows the quality is out there if found in the right places.
The Whites could have held out for a higher price, but it is risking potential further disruption on a price that a club wouldn't want to pay given the current situation.
It's a loss on the financial front, but a quick move elsewhere means Leeds can continue to build upon the foundations put in place last season.