They say truth is stranger than fiction.
Recent events at Manchester United could be mistaken for a complex intertwining novel, with lustful advances for Pedro and Gareth Bale being rebuffed, a favourite son seemingly looking for pastures new and rumours surfacing that unity may not be what it seems at the footballing family.
It's a family headed by the stern Louis van Gaal. An abrupt man whose strict authoritarian approach both commands respect and alienates in equal measure. Zlatan Ibrahimovic described him as a 'pompous arse' and Barcelona legend Hristo Stoichkov accused him of 'destroying' the Catalan club.
BECOME A WRITER
Do you have what it takes? Sign up today and send over your 250 word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay3
Article continues below
United's failure to land a big-name forward to their ranks created quite a stir over the summer and left Van Gaal without his much desired ready-made superstar, instead settling for bringing in Anthony Martial for a 'ridiculous' fee on deadline day. But the most editorial inches centred on favourite son David de Gea.
The Spain international's protracted move to Real Madrid provided much anguish for Van Gaal. Not only did he feel incapable of trusting one of Europe's best goalkeepers, it also conditioned the club's transfer plans by complicating a move for Real's Sergio Ramos and triggered the signing of the vastly overrated Sergio Romero.
Article continues below
In a twist befitting a plot in a vivid page turner, De Gea has now signed a new four-year deal to commit his short term-future to the club as well as strengthening the club's hand in the event preying eyes present themselves in the coming months.
But will his return to the starting 11 create further unrest in the dressing room? Will it undermine Van Gaal's imposing demeanour? Seniors Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick have both approached the Dutchman to alert him morale is waning, and with De Gea now likely to walk straight back into the team after pining for a move it's likely to bring with it some frustrated glances.
The Red Devils have seven points from the opening league games and have largely failed to convince. They beat Tottenham Hotspur on the opening day before winning at Aston Villa, but stuttered in a home draw against Newcastle United and were surprisingly beaten at the Liberty Stadium by Swansea City.
Van Gaal relies on his squad buying into his methods but questionable use of a 3-5-2 formation, and attempts at using players like Daley Blind and Ander Herrera in unorthodox positions, haven't helped him convince that he's got clear vision.
United fans are clearly delighted their star goalkeeper is back in the fold. He offers reassurance and quality to a burgeoning backline that neither Romero nor the banished Victor Valdes can. But his resurgence could lead to fellow players questioning if Van Gaal is willing to have different rules for different players. Do you get what you want if you throw a tantrum?
Old Trafford welcomes Liverpool today for what is traditionally one of the highlights of the calendar. A convincing win with the likely return of De Gea may be enough to enhance public opinion, but it may take longer for players to get their heads around everything that's happened this summer.
If there are murmurings that all is not well when the team is fifth in the Premier League and comfortably qualified for the Champions League group stage, what's likely to happen when the team hits a bad stretch of form?