Adnan Januzaj's loan spell with Borussia Dortmund is going to be cut short with the Belgian heading back to Manchester United ahead of schedule. A lack of game time in the Bundesliga has prompted United to request an end to the player's stay in Germany, according to BBC Sport.
"The 20-year-old forward is poised to cut short his loan spell at Borussia Dortmund and return to Old Trafford with manager Louis van Gaal’s blessing," reported the Mirror on Wednesday.
James Ducker of the Times provided a timetable for the Belgian's return to England's top flight: "Dortmund have agreed to the request and Januzaj is expected to return to Manchester this week with the paperwork expected to be finalised in the next 24 hours. A formal announcement is likely to be made tomorrow."
Januzaj's loan spell has not been a success. Aside from a lack of playing time needed to further his development, the attacker has been criticised and seen his international standing damaged.
A lack of "mental toughness" is one of the common complaints from Germany, per the Mirror. The same report also reveals how the Belgian national camp wants him to earn "more experience."
Januzaj has not delivered on the early promise he displayed for United, particularly during the 2013-14 season. He's quick, comfortable on the ball, willing to take players on and boasts excellent technique.
But at the moment, those are merely indicators of what might be. The early drive to impress no longer seems to be there.
Yet Simon Bajkowski of the Manchester Evening News believes Januzaj's return will be good for both player and club:
Simon Bajkowski @spbajko
Januzaj recall by #mufc makes sense from all sides. Should intensify competition for a midfield stuck in a rut2016-1-6 20:25:14
Perhaps Van Gaal, a manager never afraid to give young players a chance, can finally bring out the best in Januzaj.
Juventus Keen on Ander Herrera
One player Van Gaal hasn't always gotten the most from is Basque playmaker Ander Herrera. The former Athletic Bilbao midfield man is now emerging as a target for Serie A giants Juventus, according to Tuttosport (h/t Metro's Mark Brus).
The reports suggest the Turin-based club has even started talks over a possible transfer. But United would be determined not to sell for cheap: "Juventus have had chiefs come to Old Trafford for talks and it is thought Herrera could be available for between £22-25 million."
Ditching Herrera would be an odd move for Van Gaal. He's exactly the kind of pass-and-move talent the Dutchman needs to make his possession-heavy style of play work.
Making Herrera the focal point of his midfield rather than moving him on should be Van Gaal's priority.
Technically gifted players such as Januzaj and Herrera should be forming the essential building blocks for a new United team, one capable of producing the brand of stylish, attacking football the club has often held dear.