Papy Djilobodji and Didier Ndong could return to Sunderland but there is no prospect of them returning to the first team fold.
Jack Ross will be eager to avoid upsetting the superb team spirit he has fostered since taking over earlier in the summer and the Sunderland ownership are even keener to ensure there is no reprieve for the pair.
Neither reported back to the club for pre-season training but after their attempts to seal a move elsewhere on deadline day failed, their representatives floated the idea of returning to Wearside to push for a first team place.
What happens next is unclear, with Sunderland considering their options.
What is certain, however, is that there will be no welcome to the senior picture for either player.
Hannover President Martin Kind admitted that move for Djilobodji did not work out 'for a variety of reasons', while prospective moves to Torino, Leganes and Benfica have all fallen through for Ndong at some stage during the summer.
Speaking ahead of deadline day, Ross admitted that he would be surprised if the pair returned but said that advice had been taken by the Sunderland hierarchy should that happen.
Ross has said on several occasions that the issue has largely been outside of his remit, with Tony Coton and Richard Hill leading the talks and discussions.
Ross: "I haven't really [thought about what happens if they don't move].
"Stewart, Tony and Richard have I'm sure taken guidance on where the club would be at [if they return to try and earn their wage] because there have been several breaches of their obligations.
"It's always bubbled on with the expectation it would reach an end point because I don't think there's a single ounce of desire from the players to come back. Which as I've said, is sad really in terms of where they are in their careers.
"I work on the day to day basis of preparing the players properly and as a club, I don't think we've ever believed it would be the case.
"It still nags of course and it would be remiss to completely rule it out but hopefully it won't be the case."