Borussia Monchengladbach manager Lucien Favre has phased out the No. 9 position at the club, which is why Luuk de Jong, a €15 million signing from Twente, does not have a future at Gladbach.
De Jong scored six league goals in 23 league games last season in a campaign adversely affected by knee surgery and resentment towards Favre.
De Jong must wonder how different his debut season would have been if he had assistance from Max Kruse or Raffael.
Kruse, an all-round attacker, was Freiburg's MVP after being involved in 19 league goals (11 scored and eight assisted) and could be included in the German 2014 FIFA World Cup squad.
Raffael, an audacious, crowd-pleasing footballer, was looking to rebound after a tough period at Dynamo Kyiv and spent the last half of the season on loan at Schalke.
Arriving at Gladbach, Raffael had the inside-track having played under Favre at FC Zurich and Hertha Berlin.
Instead of Kruse and Raffael competing to play behind De Jong, Favre radically altered Gladbach's playing style to cater to a 4-4-2 without a No. 9. De Jong has thus been frozen out (he averages 7.4 minutes in the Bundesliga this season).
Both Kruse and Raffael are deep-lying forwards, dropping into midfield to facilitate, taking on opposing players and conjuring up moments of brilliance every game (and it's been working beautifully so far, with 16 goals and eight assists between them).
De Jong is a classic example of the Gladbach administrators wanting him but the manager, Favre, objecting and being burdened with a player that isn't his.
"Our head coach Lucien Favre has said from the start he didn't have 100 percent confidence in De Jong filling the striker position," Borussia board member Hans Meyer said, via Sky Sports.
Meanwhile, sporting director Max Eberl said, via Sky Sports: "It's a difficult situation for Luuk, but we are just as happy to have him first in our squad as other clubs would be when they have such a player."
By going to a formation without a No. 9, Favre knows there is no going back for De Jong.
Favre is pushing De Jong out of Gladbach, so this is the context behind his struggles that you need to factor in when you're assessing him.