WHILE news of Jonny Gray heading to Exeter Chiefs next season is disappointing and frustrating for Glasgow Warriors fans, the only surprise should be that he didn’t make the move south when he signed his last contract extension two years ago, at which point his market value was even higher.

The sting of Gray’s departure is increased because it comes on the back of Stuart Hogg moving on last summer and Finn Russell the summer before that, but the reality is that Glasgow Warriors – and Edinburgh for that matter – have always been, and always will be, "selling clubs" under the current ownership model, which eschews outside investment in favour of 100 per cent Murrayfield control.

The SRU created a rod for their own back by boasting last summer that they had managed to work the organisation into a "debt-free" position – a dubious claim which appeared to be based on bank debt only and not take into account all other monies owed. In their hunger to generate positive publicity ahead of a potentially stormy AGM, they created an impression of prosperity which supporters now expect to see translated into the pro teams’ player purchasing/retention power.

The major gripe seems to be that a "like for like" replacement for Gray is, well, unlikely. But that is inevitable because money talks and the reason Gray is heading to Exeter is because he is being offered a huge salary. The market dictates that to entice a player of similar calibre north to Glasgow would take a similar amount of money, which the SRU simply don’t have to throw around – especially when there is the small matter of SRU chief executive Mark Dodson’s salary to take care of first (expected to be a significant jump on the £455,000 paid for the year up to May 2018 when the accounts up to May 2019 are eventually lodged at Companies House).

The imminent arrival of CVC (private equity) money is not going to change that situation because everyone else will get that cash too, so wages will spiral but Scotland will be no better off in real terms – unless, that is, they cash in on the family silverware (ie the Murrayfield Stadium campus), which is perhaps why the recent Gammell/Murray recommendations for an "updated" SRU governance structure is so keen to remove ownership of that asset from a Trusteeship and to place it in the hands of a new all-powerful, executive-driven board of directors which won’t have any elected accountability.

But that is an argument for another day. In the meantime, Warriors should take comfort in the fact that Gray’s departure opens the door for Scott Cummings – surely a future Scotland captain in the making – to accelerate his professional development by taking on extra responsibility at club level.

And who knows? Given that he is turning 32 by the end of this season, and has a patchy disciplinary record, Leone Nakarawa might find the European super clubs are not tempted to offer the type of cash required to lure him away from Glasgow during the last few seasons of his career.

Cummings and Nakarawa in the middle-row next season, with burgeoning talents of Andrew Davidson and Kiran McDonald, plus academy prospects Marshall Sykes and Cameron Henderson, snapping at their heels? It's not that bad a situation to be in.