It’s been an unwanted saga at Dens Park this summer but, for the second time, striker Kane Hemmings has left Dundee.
His first departure, for a reported fee of only £250,000, was a punch to the gut for fans of the Dark Blues as he headed south for Oxford United in 2016 after scoring 25 goals the previous season.
This one, however, has made contact a lot lower in what has been a testing summer for all who follow the Dens Parkers.
Just as it felt like the tide was turning from negative headlines of financial losses, wage cuts and redundancies to more positive ones about players signing and fans rallying to raise money, Dundee were struck by a body blow from one of their main men.
In June, Dark Blues managing director John Nelms spoke of “tough choices” to be made at the club following a loss of £500,000 thanks to the early end to last season.
The first cost-cutting move was to ask the first-team players to take a wage cut of 50% until October and then 25% until next May.
A deadline was set for midnight on Friday, July 10, to respond with the threat of ‘Clause 12’ – where clubs can suspend the contracts of players if matches are suspended by the governing bodies – being invoked if they didn’t agree.
The following day it emerged two players hadn’t met that deadline, one then swiftly agreed but one remained outstanding.
On the Sunday morning, Hemmings’ name was leaked as the one who hadn’t agreed to the cut, prompting huge speculation over where he would appear again in a Dundee shirt.
Being one of the highest earners at the club, that 50% would be a bigger drop for him than almost every other squad member.
However, 10 days after the deadline, Dundee announced all players had accepted the wage cut and it seemed their main striker would be sticking around for the 2020/21 season.
However, fast forward into August and Hemmings has indicated his desire to leave, putting a sizeable dent in manager James McPake’s plans for the new campaign.
A day earlier, former St Mirren man Danny Mullen arrived, with supporters expecting him to complement the 29-year-old up top with his work-rate and energy.
That won’t happen now but Mullen will team up with a team-mate of his from last term in Paisley, Alex Jakubiak.
Meanwhile, it’s thought Hemmings has several clubs south of the border keen on his signature.
Last season, the former Rangers and Cowdenbeath man took his time to get among the goals in his second spell at the club but, by the time of the shutdown, he had moved into double figures, showing the kind of goal-scoring form his manager brought him back for.
Dundee fans only saw a fraction of what they knew he was capable of in the Championship – and that’s where the biggest frustration lies.