Manchester United do not have the option of sending Adnan Januzaj out on loan to another club after his loan spell at Borussia Dortmund was cancelled. The 20-year-old joined the Bundesliga giants on a season-long loan on transfer deadline day in September 2015. While Dortmund have enjoyed a remarkable start to the season, the Belgium international has played a peripheral role in that success, starting just two games for the club.
United manager Louis van Gaal told reporters in September he was keen for the attacking midfielder to join another Premier League side on loan rather than Dortmund, believing the youngster would get more first-team opportunities in England. United no longer have the option to send him to another club, though, with his return paving the way for a squad role at Old Trafford.
Fifa rules on player registration state that while a player can be registered for three clubs, he is only eligible to play official matches for two.
Article 5 of Fifa's Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players says: "Players may be registered with a maximum of three clubs during one season. During this period, the player is only eligible to play official matches for two clubs.
"As an exception to this rule, a player moving between two clubs belonging to associations with overlapping seasons (i.e. start of the season in summer/autumn as opposed to winter/spring) may be eligible to play in official matches for a third club during the relevant season, provided he has fully complied with his contractual obligations towards his previous clubs. Equally, the provisions relating to the registration periods (article 6) as well as to the minimum length of a contract (article 18 paragraph 2) must be respected."
Januzaj's return to the club could impact the club's dealings in the transfer market. Capable of playing through the middle or on the wing, the young Belgian gives Van Gaal a fresh option in areas where his side have been lacking this season, shortcomings most evident in their recent run of form that has seen them win just twice in 10 games.
While the club have attempted to address their lack of options in wide positions with moves for Southampton's Sadio Mane, the Daily Mail claims United have already been knocked back in their attempts to sign the Senegal international. Despite the 23-year-old's recently being disciplined by manager Ronald Koeman, Saints are adamant Mane will remain on the south coast until at least the summer.
Januzaj made four appearances for United at the start of the campaign before leaving for Dortmund, scoring the winner against Aston Villa in the second game of the season.