PSV Eindhoven have been battling to keep hold of their talented winger Zakaria Bakkali for months now. The Belgian sprang to international attention when he scored a hat-trick in just his second appearance for the club - and his explosive wing play has got other teams watching on with envious eyes.
This summer teams such as Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Anderlecht and Standard Liege have all been mentioned as having an interest in his services.
English clubs have also noticed the boy-wonder. Both Arsenal and Manchester United were reported keen in the past. But this summer it has been Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool most heavily linked with his potential signature.
More recently it has been United heavily linked with a player called the 'new Eden Hazard' but this boys career has already had many conflicting reports about his future.
In the summer it looked as though a La Liga side were set to disappoint the interested Premier League parties as Dutch paper De Telegraaf reported that Atletico Madrid had agreed a €2-3 million fee for the 18-year-old. PSV chief executive Marcel Brands even confirmed he was off to Atletico.
Three months ago however it was confirmed he was set to stay. He had sacked his agent and Tottenham, Liverpool and co were set to be disappointed when Brands stated:
“He’s a good guy and I think he said he wants to stay with us. We’ll see what we can do to renew his contract, because during this season a lot will happen and other teams will want him very much.”
It was a good decision for Bakkali. His career had stalled amid the speculation and he was not ready for a move to a team like Tottenham or Liverpool and certainly not Manchester United.
But the soap opera that is his early career has taken yet another twist this weekend. PSV have confirmed he is leaving, and will not play for the club again.
In an interview with FOX Sports PSV youth director Art Langeler said of the teenager:
"The career of Bakkali is over in Eindhoven. Let me make one thing very clear. He is a very amicable, sweet, delicate somewhat naive boy who can play football very well. What has happened all around further, since we have already talked about. The fallout was the 25th legal agreement. They came forward and indicated that the previous agreements were passed again and again we wanted to start again with the talks."
So Bakkali is available for a cut-price fee if anyone wants him.