Leeds United legend and former assistant manager Eddie Gray has told LUTV that Garry Monk should be preparing for life without star man Charlie Taylor despite the club having turned down the left-sided star's transfer request.
The future of Taylor has been a burning topic at Elland Road throughout the transfer window, and reached a new intensity this week when the Whites rejected an official transfer request lodged by the 22-year-old and his representatives.
That demand was made amidst widespread speculation of interest from several Premier League clubs for the left-back, who can also play on the left side of midfield.
Taylor is certainly a bright star; the York-born player was named as the club's Player of the Year at the end of last term by Leeds supporters in recognition of a season in which he became integral to the club's cause, making 43 appearances in all competitions.
However, former Whites hero Gray, who served as assistant manager under Monk's predecessor Steve Evans, believes that the new boss should already have preparations underway for life without Taylor, despite the club's defiant stance on the player's future.
He told LUTV: "The one thing about football is that it’s very difficult for clubs to hold on to their players. You can’t hold on to them if they have made up their mind that they are unhappy.
"That’s something Garry Monk could be looking at, can he get a left-back in or if they have a left-back at the club, who he can play there. If Charlie Taylor did move on tomorrow, are they expecting [Gaetano] Berardi to play at left-back? He can do it, as he has done it before.
"You hope Charlie stays, but once players hand in transfer requests, you realise they are not happy at the club. It’s always difficult to keep them."
Though Monk has done encouraging business in the transfer window thus far, bringing in seven first-team players in a variety of positions, supporters have already suffered the disappointment of losing rising midfield star Lewis Cook to Premier League outfit Bournemouth.
To lose Taylor now would be to undo a lot of the good work done on the squad by Monk, and would be a dagger to the heart of many Whites fans who are so desperate to hold on to the new-found optimism of the early days former Swansea manager's reign.