Sunderland chief executive Martin Bain has admitted that some of the proceeds of Jordan Pickford's £30m sale have had to be used to fund past mistakes.
The Black Cats, who recorded a £33m loss after tax for the year to July 31, 2016, at which point they had debts of £110.4m, have had to tighten their belts in the wake of relegation from the Premier League at the end of last season.
Fans who thought there might be room for manoeuvre following goalkeeper Pickford's big-money move to Everton in June - and the departures of the likes of Jeremain Lens and Vito Mannone - have been left disappointed and angry amid speculation, vehemently denied by sources on Wearside, that the club could go into administration.
However, Bain has confirmed a proportion of that income has had to be used to pay off remaining instalments on previous signings, including almost £10m to Inter Milan for Ricky Alvarez following a protracted legal fight.
Bain told the Sunderland Echo:
Owner Ellis Short has borne the brunt of fans' frustration after admitting he was no longer prepared to pour funds into the club - which is effectively up for sale - with little prospect of it making a tangible difference.
However, Bain insists the American businessman is still committed to maintaining the business' viability, but is seeking a better way to run it.