On the 150 yards between Thorp Arch’s entrance and the main road, Leeds United are usually positioned for autographs as players pass in their cars. On Tuesday, however, there was also a handwritten sign. The size of a table-top and unmistakable with its message.

“Side before self, every time,” read the banner facing Leeds players as they left the training ground, using the famous mantra of club legend Billy Bremner. It also listed the players who have left or want to leave the club. “Aaronson, Harrison, Koch, Roca, Sinisterra, Adams, Wober, Kristensen, Gnonto = Greed or no fight.”

There was added invective next to the name of Tyler Adams’, who saw a move to rivals Chelsea collapse, plus the message that “we don’t want you”. And the sign-off was clear to those heading home after training. “LUFC fans never forget.”

Those supporters finished last season with the devastation of Premier League relegation and getting their heads around the chaotic months that have followed. The club have new owners, a new manager and players leaving with “exit clauses” – as Daniel Farke calls them – loans to other clubs which were activated when they dropped into the Premier League.

“It’s a crazy, crazy thing, but it was done in the past and we have to accept this and to adjust,” said Farke. “As long as I’m in control here over the contracts, that’s the last thing anyone wants for sure, so such a situation will never happen again.”

Farke is effectively picking up the pieces of the old regime. He was told about the release clauses when he was discussing his four-year deal at Elland Road, with sporting director Victor Orta the key negotiator for contracts that allowed players to leave on season-long loans rather than play in the Championship.

Brenden Aaronson (Union Berlin), Jack Harrison (Everton), Robin Koch (Eintracht Frankfurt), Diego Llorente, Rasmus Kristensen (both Roma), Max Wöber (Borussia Mönchengladbach) and Marc Roca (Real Betis) have all left the building to play 2023/24 elsewhere.

In the auditorium of Thorp Arch, Farke was measured in his answers to broadcasters and local reporters who have seldom had a quiet day reporting on the club this summer. He said he was unsure whether “any other club in the whole of Western Europe had such a situation”, although he would be hard pushed for a comparison from the Balkans or beyond.

Added to his problems has been Willy Gnonto, the club’s breakout star of last season but now refusing to play in matches as he wants to leave the club. The Italian forward has been moved away from the first-team dressing room along with Colombian forward Luis Sinisterra who has “legal question marks” over his relegation clause.

In the case of Gnonto, he has no clause at all in his terms, which was effectively an Academy contract. The club have made it clear he will not be sold and the hope now is that he can be integrated back eventually and will get a new deal which will include favourable clauses. Adams has been the subject of a bid from Bournemouth and, with his relegation clause undisclosed to the public, it waits to be seen whether a deal will be done.

“We spoke quite transparently about the situation. That it would definitely be bumpy,” said Farke. “We were open about it that there would be exit clauses in many players. But the closer we edge to the end of the transfer window, the more we are back in the driving seat. This is what has happened in the last days.”

Farke’s talk about being back in the driving seat has hinted at some of the clauses having a time limit, meaning the situations of remaining players could be resolved soon. At least the German, 46, has had some experience of welcoming players back in from the cold.

While at Norwich City, he had a situation where Emi Buendia and Todd Cantwell were dropped from his first-team squad for their attitude in training, but they eventually came back into the team and helped earn promotion. Repeating that seems like a long way away after the week Farke has had, with a defeat at Birmingham City last weekend leaving him still without a Championship win.

On Wednesday in training he saw Leo Hjelde injured in an aerial duel and he was ruled out of Friday’s game against West Brom due to concussion rules. It added to the feeling that this situation has been self-inflicted. It has been down to Farke to devise a plan for Friday night’s fixture while also man-managing his squad.

“It’s not like I’m there just like a clown and do some jokes for the mood,” he said. “We are also self-critical after the last game, the players know they have my trust and I have to protect them as they are great lads who are giving everything for the shirt. I’m not just there to lift the mood because it is a difficult situation, I’m also there to improve every player. It’s a pretty complex job as a coach.”

Complex indeed. Those deals seeing players leave on loan means they will be back at the end of the season, so at least will be assets again either for a sale or for Leeds’s squad should they get back into the top-flight. At the moment a first win is the short-term aim.