Any club who have been forced to sell their best player in recent times will sympathise with Koln this season.
Last season Anthony Modeste’s goals fired them to a fifth place finish in the Bundesliga, ensuring European qualification for the first time in 20 years.
However, the French forward’s season haul of 27 goals attracted the attention of Tianjin Quanjian.
The lure of Chinese Super League wages proved too much for Modeste and he left Koln on loan in the summer with Tianjin Quanjian having the option to make the deal permanent at a later date.
Stripped of their only natural goalscorer, Koln have experienced a miserable first half of the 2017/18 season.
The Billy Goats have won just one league game in 17, drawing three, and losing 13, giving them a pitiful points tally of six.
That puts them below even the much-mocked Benevento, with the Serie A strugglers having amassed seven points; although they have played three more games at this stage of the campaign.
Put simply, Koln are destined for relegation.
And while that’s a sad inevitability for the fans, it could mean good news for Arsenal and Borussia Dotmund.
That’s because some of Koln’s best players have relegation release clauses that will let them leave in the summer for bargain fees when the club’s fate is sealed.
One such player is highly-rated goalkeeper Timo Horn.
Horn has supposedly been scouted by the Gunners with Petr Cech showing signs of deterioration this season.
The 6ft 4in gloveman is considered one of the best young keepers in Germany — Liverpool considered him before signing Loris Karius in 2016.
Horn has a €6million relegation release clause, a snip for a potential first-choice keeper in today’s market.
Second to Modeste’s departure, Koln’s biggest difference from last season has been the absence of Jonas Hector.
The German international left-back tore ankle ligaments during a Europa League clash against Arsenal at the Emirates in September.
The 27-year-old is yet to return to the first-team and will once again be the subject of much speculation in the summer.
Chelsea and Liverpool were said to be keen on Hector after an impressive showing at Euro 2016 but were deterred when he signed a new contract at Koln.
Reports in Germany suggest Hector has a €10million relegation release clause with Borussia Dortmund favourites to swoop for the defender.
It is normal for relegated clubs to be raided for their best players but these contract clauses will mean the purchasing clubs will save a few million euros at a time when most transfer fees are horribly inflated.
Koln’s loss is Arsenal and Dortmund’s gain it seems…