"Selling" is a dirty word in the luxuriant corridors of the big league - far worse than anything Wayne Rooney might blurt at a pitchside camera.
Being a "selling club" is seen as an acceptance of mediocrity; a hopeless statement that things will probably never get a lot better than they are right now. And they may well get worse.
It's got so bad, that when clubs sell a really good player these days, you can barely move for managers and chairmen, desperately scuttling for higher ground.
Take Harry Redknapp. The Tottenham manager has been bombarded with Gareth Bale speculation all season, but this week it got to him.
"It's up the owners if he leaves. It's out of my hands," he said. And you knew exactly why he said it. He's terrified.
If Bale does leave this summer, the predictable furore will be inescapable. Spurs' fans will question their club's ambition, and the media will do the same. "They're a selling club," we'll say.
But why does it always have to be this way? And is selling your best player always a defeatist course of action? In the case of Bale, I'd argue cashing in on a quite remarkable season could represent the best path to Tottenham's future.
The 21-year-old Welshman might is being touted at anywhere from £40-£80 million in the current market, which sounds like sensational value for a player who's somehow proved himself world-class in the space of a season. Spurs could buy two centre-backs with the money, and be a better team by August.
I'd argue the same is true of Cesc Fabregas at Arsenal. Perry Groves made the excellent point this week that £30-£40 million for Fabregas would allow Arsene Wenger to bring in two "natural leaders" in his place. Would that point to a lack of ambition? Or a statement of intent at the Emirates? I'd argue for the latter. And with the likes of Jack Wilshere and Samir Nasri already clipping at Cesc's heels, now's the perfect time to cash in.
Ultimately, fans never like to see their team's best players moving on - but in the case of Bale and Fabregas it's time to realise that sometimes the most ambitious course of action is to cash in your chips. And if the sale of either, or both players, helps their respective teams to greater glory, being a "selling club" won't seem that bad after all.