Wilfried Zaha's arrival at Manchester United in January 2013 was met with excitement by fans of the Red Devils. The talented wide-man, who proved to be Sir Alex Ferguson's final signing in charge of the club, quickly returned back to Crystal Palace on loan, and helped the club return to the Premier League.
However, as Zaha arrived at Old Trafford on a permanent basis just over one year ago, his stint at one of England's biggest clubs just hasn't gone to plan. In fact, it's been disastrous.
Under David Moyes - as Manchester United endured a nightmare campaign in the post Ferguson era - Zaha failed to make an impact, and was eventually shipped out on loan to Cardiff City.
And, whilst many expected Zaha to produce top class performances under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he struggled to prove his worth in the Premier League. Perhaps it was a confidence issue - in a matter of months Zaha had gone from Palace's star man to an outcast at Old Trafford, who wasn't even trusted on the bench.
It must have been even harder for Zaha to take as he had to watch Adnan Januzaj enter the frame at Old Trafford. The now Belgian international quickly lit up the Theatre of Dreams, and instantly became a fans' favourite.
Ultimately, before this season's big kick-off, Januzaj was handed the famous No.11 Manchester United shirt. Zaha surely would have had visions of taking over from Ryan Giggs upon his retirement.
Van Gaal destroying him
Moyes, of course, was sacked by Manchester United, and Zaha must have been pleased. This season, then, should have represented Zaha's big chance at Old Trafford. After three games, however, the youngster's Manchester United career looks over.
On the club's tour of the US, Zaha was the last outfield player to feature as Van Gaal's regime kicked into action. It appeared that, as the new United boss was looking to implement the 3-5-2 formation, Zaha had no chance in a system that worked so well for the Netherlands at the World Cup.
It quickly became obvious that the ex-Palace man wasn't trusted in the full-back positions, whilst his only real chance in pre-season came in attack. But, even in the summer, he must have known things were going to be difficult.
Zaha hasn't been able to get into the Manchester United team in his favoured position, so how was he going to compete with Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Co. in attack?
And now, with the marquee signing of Angel di Maria, Zaha will fall even further down in the pecking order at Old Trafford. Even the likes of Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young are way ahead of him at United: both of them have come in for major criticism for below par performances over the past year. Before the start of last season, Zaha made his debut for England, now he's struggling to make the U21 squad.
Last night, as Manchester United suffered a humiliating 4-0 defeat to League One outfit MK Dons, Zaha was placed on the bench for the first time this season. That in itself must have come as a major blow for the wide-man, considering the likes of Marnick Vermijl, Reece James and Saidy Janko all made the starting XI. That must have hurt Zaha.
This must have hurt more: as United trailed at stadium:mk, Van Gaal sent on Andreas Pereira and James Wilson. In truth, Pereira and Wilson, who are highly rated, were actually two of United's better players on the night, despite their short cameo.
But, that won't soften this major blow to Zaha's confidence. Van Gaal clearly doesn't trust him to play in England's elite division, but surely he's worth a go in the Capital One Cup. After all, Zaha has proved his quality in the Championship - he would have fancied himself against the back-four of the Dons.
But, it wasn't meant to be for Zaha, and he has to leave this week before Van Gaal and Manchester United destroys his confidence altogether. Surely, despite his troubles in the last year, a Premier League club would take a risk on the tricky winger.
He's still young, and surely he will be desperate to prove his credentials in England's elite division. He will be looking to hit back at his critics, and prove that Moyes and now Van Gaal have been wrong about him. It's a huge week for Zaha; he can't stay in the wilderness at Manchester United.
Manchester United fans: Do you agree? Does Zaha need to leave your club in order to save his career? Have your say below!
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