With the summer transfer window just days away from swinging open, Bilal Ould-Chikh is a hot topic - and not just among interested managers.
FC Twente ignited a mad scramble for Ould-Chikh when announcing negotiations over a new contract had stalled.
With fans anxious about the 17 year-old's status and coach Alfred Schreuder publicly pleading with the club to get a deal done, Twente were forced into an official statement earlier this year, conceding the two parties were just too far apart.
"Our needs and his demands are far apart," announced Twente.
It's a blow for Schreuder, who has made the teenager a personal project this season.
"It is a shame no agreement can be found," lamented the coach.
"I think a player at the age of Bilal should always first make a choice about his development. At FC Twente he knows he can get plenty of playing time in the future.
"I said this last week and I've said it to him again. Bilal told me he wants to stay."
But Schreuder accepts Twente will be in no other position than having to sell his protégé unless a new deal is signed.
"The initiative will have to come from him now, because as I understand, FC Twente will not budge."
No matter what lies ahead for Ould-Chikh, he'll always be grateful to Schreuder for giving him his break this season.
"He was the one who gave me my debut," says the teen. "I will always be grateful to Alfred Schreuder for the opportunity he gave me."
The feeling is mutual, with Schreuder admitting Ould-Chikh has made himself a first-choice. The teen has become an ever present in the second-half of the season, relegating midfield rivals Kasper Kurch and Ryo Miyaichi, on-loan from Arsenal, to the bench.
"Whenever Bilal is on the ball, or even on the pitch, something happens," enthuses Schreuder.
"Before the winter break, he played a lot in the reserves. It was good for him to get a lot of playing time. It was important for his development. With young players, we look at a lot of individual programs and needs, we want everyone to get enough playing time.
"But now, Bilal is with the first team. Everything has changed with him. We need him."
Ould-Chikh won't turn 18 until July, but already has his first goal at senior level.
The breakthrough came in the New Year during victory over Heracles Almelo.
"For me, that was a dream come true," Ould-Chikh recalled. "To first make my debut at 17 and then to score..."
The left-sided midfielder admits the goal came from hours of studying one current Oranje star.
"When I collected the ball, I had in my head what I would do. I watch a lot of Arjen Robben, he's my role model. This is exactly what he does often. To cut in and score."
It's not just Bayern Munich star Robben's goalscoring that Ould-Chikh hopes to emulate.
"I want to entertain the audience, I know what it's like to sit in the stands, you want to see someone who can pass a man. That's what I want to be known for."
Unfortunately for Twente, Ould-Chikh's reputation will be built away from the De Grolsch Veste.
"We made an offer and FC Twente in turn also," says his agent, Samir El Hadouchi. "The distance could not be bridged. That's very annoying. Also for us.
"Bilal wants to stay with FC Twente. We also think that the club has an excellent environment for him to grow. He is young and it (the club) was close. We have made a sincere effort, but it did not work."
But just like Twente, El Hadouchi could also have a battle this summer keeping hold of his young client.
Player investment firm Doyen Sports have been linked with Ould-Chikh. There's talk of Twente selling a stake in the youngster's contract to the management group.
Such an arrangement would create complications for Van Gaal, with the Premier League frowning upon third party transfers. But it could bring AC Milan into the frame with the Rossoneri now actively speaking with Doyen about a strengthening of ties.
"Bilal has had no contact with Doyen and neither do we," insisted El Hadouchi. "I cannot say anything about it. FC Twente never asked me if Bilal could be partly placed with Doyen."
In the meantime, El Hadouchi insists Twente are forcing his hand.
"This is a wonderful environment for him. The hope was to show his qualities at FC Twente. The club feels like family. The fans have always been great to him. But alas..."
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