The 21-year-old has struggled with a long series of injuries and a few unsuccessful loan spells at various clubs which have all culminated in him only playing three times in the last year, on loan at Leicester.
Reports suggest his attitude towards the game and training still remains entirely questionable and that is the driving force behind the doubts over whether he has a long-term future in the game.
For any player, spending that long without playing football must be tough, especially a youngster who is yet to really get his career under way.
Here’s a look back at just how long Powell has had to spend on the sidelines and how long his recovery process has been up until this point:
Road to Recovery starts now. ????⚽️????
— Nick Powell (@NPowell25) March 12, 2015
Quick trip down to London ???? check up and done! ????
— Nick Powell (@NPowell25) May 7, 2015
Good couple of holidays. Now to finish of recovery ????????⚽️
— Nick Powell (@NPowell25) June 13, 2015
Was good seeing @DrShahBegum again. Thank you for another session. ????????????
— Nick Powell (@NPowell25) June 18, 2015
Recovery day in the gym and the ashes. ???? pic.twitter.com/lvHYrjgy36
— Nick Powell (@NPowell25) July 8, 2015
Not long to go now ⚽️????
— Nick Powell (@NPowell25) August 15, 2015
27 weeks of recovery done so far. Not many more to go! ⚽️???? pic.twitter.com/o6j4QYvIAN
— Nick Powell (@NPowell25) August 24, 2015
Weekend off before getting back into training after so long ????????⚽️
— Nick Powell (@NPowell25) September 5, 2015
You can appreciate that being out for such a long time can create disillusion in the mind of a youngster who had so much promise when he arrived at United after steering Crewe Alexandra to promotion with a wonder-goal at Wembley.
That being said, plenty of players have come through substantial injuries – Aaron Ramsey, Antonio Valencia, Djibril Cisse – to continue their careers, so it can’t be solely used as an excuse.
It’s up to Powell himself. He wasn’t sold this summer, potentially because he wasn’t fit enough to pass a medical, and because of that he still has a chance under Louis van Gaal but it’s whether he wants to or not.
Hopefully later this week we’ll see Powell give his own rebuttal on social media refuting the rumours and insisting he is determined to succeed. As Rio Ferdinand said when he arrived from Crewe, Powell walked with broad shoulders and a swagger at United that showed he wasn’t overwhelmed by the step-up, he looked like he belonged there and it’d be sad to see that promise dwindle away.