Wednesday saw Tom Lees leave Elland Road for Hillsborough and while this wasn’t the greatest of disappointments after what had been a pretty poor 2013/14 for the Thorp Arch academy graduate, it did leave Leeds United’s already weak defence looking in desperate need of reinforcement.

For a few hours, that need looked like it would be addressed by highly-rated Chesterfield centre-back Liam Cooper for whom Leeds United immediately placed an offer. After the first was deemed to be below Chesterfield’s valuation of their star youngster, another bid was made by Leeds and was again rejected.

It’s unclear as to what the difference between Leeds United’s offer and Chesterfield’s valuation is, but after the second bid was rejected The Whites took the unusual step of issuing a statement via Twitter announcing that their interest in the player had ended and they wouldn’t be increasing their bid.

The tweet has been interpreted by many as a negotiating tactic designed to unsettle the player and try to force through a transfer at something closer to Leeds United’s valuation than Chesterfield’s and if that is indeed the case (and it works), it stops looking like the work of a stroppy child who didn’t win and has taken his ball home, but instead, a clever piece of PR that’s saved the club money.

The only trouble with such tactics is they delay progress and Leeds United don’t have a great deal of time remaining to assemble the squad for this campaign. Our inexperienced manager is already facing criticism following some poor pre-season results and he desperately needs the reinforcements. His cause isn’t being helped by the club’s failure to get players in quickly so he can work with them before the season gets underway and start formulating a game-plan for what is likely to be a team consisting of mostly new arrivals who’ve no experience playing together or in the English Championship.

While this may sound like the ramblings of a fan frustrated by the slow pace the transfer window invariably moves at, a fact belied by the flashy 24/7 Sky Sports News coverage which makes us believe everything is going to happen in the very next minute (or just after the adverts), my concern is that we’re going to waste the first half dozen games blooding players and by the time we find any sort of rhythm and understanding, we’ll already be playing catch-up and face an uphill battle. Before you know it, another season has been lost to a poor transfer window and we’re counting the minutes until August all over again.

If we’ve identified a target good enough to improve our defence and the statement from the club was a bluff, can we really afford to be wasting time playing such games? Even if that’s not the case and we’ve genuinely been put off by the price-tag Chesterfield have placed on Cooper and won’t be returning to the negotiating table, we have to make haste in finding someone else because the transfer of Tom Lees starts to look very short-sighted with so little cover in defence and no signing lined up to replace him.

We have just one friendly and eight days to get our squad in place before the new season kicks off at Millwall and at this moment in time, I don’t see a squad stronger than the one we ended last season with – and Jose Mourinho couldn’t have done much with that so it hardly seems fair to expect better from David Hockaday!

That said, if we can land Cooper and push through the other stalled deals for Viviani and Benedicic, we may still be missing a couple of important players – the “icing on the cake” if you will – but at least we’d have in place a new core we can build around because adding a bit of flair from a solitary winger or a striker doesn’t fundamentally change the make-up of a squad, but when we’re still waiting to sign another half dozen first team players at this stage of the summer, we’re cutting things a little too close to the wire.