As Gary Hooper signed for Celtic this morning, any (very) slim hopes of him becoming a Leeds player were well and truly dashed. A similar story to Billy Sharp a few weeks ago, when he signed for Doncaster Rovers.
It seems to be a recurring theme with Leeds - linked to a striker, reports of a failed bid, and then he signs elsewhere. Most would claim that a lack of ambition and funding for Grayson is to blame, so how else can we fill the boots of the man who scored 85 goals for Leeds?
Those who have faith in the current regime at Leeds would argue there are still 5 weeks of the transfer window left, and this is more than enough time to bring in a replacement. Leroy Lita, Jason Roberts, Adam LeFondre and Charlie Austin are just four names being thrown around as potential suitors for Simon Grayson, but most would come with a hefty price tag - something which almost seems to rule out Leeds United these days.
So, can we look closer to home? Nobody can argue with bringing in a 29-goal striker on a free transfer, but Billy Paynter is not seen as a direct replacement for Beckford, and looks more suited to the role that Becchio already plays in the team.
Davide Somma impressed Lincoln City fans with 9 goals on loan last season, and looks to be in Grayson's first team plans this season. But the step up from League 2 to the Championship will not be easy, and our hopes shouldn't rest on him, despite looking promising in pre-season.
Mike Grella will also be looking to make an impact this season, despite being behind the mighty Paul Dickov and Tresor Kandol in the pecking order last season. Clearly a player with talent, but doesn't look to have any sort of natural finishing ability à la Beckford.
Whatever happens, there is no way that Leeds United will be able to cope without somebody shadowing Beckford's achievements over the last 3 seasons.
As it stands, Bates' blunder in not offering Beckford a new contract earlier in proceedings can only be rectified (partially) in one way - getting his chequebook out and replacing him adequately.