Manchester United star Ander Herrera hasn't started a single Premier League game in 2015, a run that continued with his omission from tonight's team to face Burnley at Old Trafford.
Herrera has failed to convince Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal that he's the man to get their troublesome midfield ticking over the last three months, which means that the Spaniard must give serious consideration to moving on this summer unless things change dramatically.
You have to wonder why Van Gaal gave the green light to completing a £29 million move for Herrera that was agreed long before he took charge at Old Trafford, because there just doesn't seem to be any room for the technically gifted schemer in his plans for either this season or beyond.
La Liga return beckons?
There was always going to be casualties from Van Gaal's first season at the Theatre of Dreams, although many expected the Dutchman to sweep away the old guard rather than alienate Herrera, the fifth most expensive signing in United's history
The 25-year-old looks the odd man out in a talent-rich part of the pitch for United, with the fact that he's not necessarily a conventional number 10 or deeper-lying playmaker also currently counting against him. Van Gaal could care less about price tags or in truth raw potential, simply put he doesn't think Herrera offers enough in any department to be picked over the likes of Wayne Rooney, Angel di Maria or even Daley Blind.
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Expression not welcome
Herrera is at heart an expressive player, looking to make things happen and roam from box-to-box if given licence. An intelligent operator who finds space for strikers in the final third, there have been fleeting signs of his ability to link play with pace and purpose when picked this season.
Van Gaal is the ultimate pragmatist though, which means that when Herrera's statistics are quantified the United boss clearly thinks he's got superior players who want to play in the same position.
United simply have to finish in the top four and secure a return to the Champions League this season, which means movements that don't fit Van Gaal's rigid philosophy are simply not going to be tolerated, whether United fans like it or not.
Rooney is staying in midfield
Red Devils supporters largely rate Herrera and so does MUTV, who had the Basque-born playmaker in their predicted starting XI for Burnley's visit to Old Trafford.
Their guess was perfectly plausible following last weekend's 1-1 draw with West Ham United, which featured a shocking first-half performance almost entirely void of creativity or intensity from Van Gaal's men.
Van Gaal is adamant that Wayne Rooney should remain in a deeper midfield role though, which when you consider that Angel di Maria also wants to drop and pick up possession when possible means there's no room for Herrera to develop at United as things stand.
Herrera has been at pains to insist he's happy at the Theatre of Dreams, but for a player approaching his prime every week sat on the bench must be a major disappointment that requires thought about the future.
Expect a whole host of clubs back in La Liga and beyond to be monitoring the situation very closely, because if Van Gaal doesn't appreciate a refined player in the mould of Cesc Fabrgeas then there are plenty who will elsewhere.
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