As far as last-chance saloons go, finding one in beautiful San Sebastián, in Spain's Basque region, offers at least a picturesque backdrop to a career-rebuild attempt.
When the city's major football residents, Real Sociedad, picked up Adnan Januzaj from Manchester United for just €11million in the summer, many remarked that the relative cheapness of the deal, in a grossly inflated transfer market, had the potential to be a bargain.
There were very good reasons for Januzaj's price being so low, however. Firstly, he had just a year remaining on his United contract, meaning he could've been snapped up for free at the end of the current season.
More poignantly, though, the Belgian international had flattered to deceive in loan spells with Borussia Dortmund and Sunderland, and looked a shadow of the player who was valued at £40million and the subject of interest from Paris Saint-Germain as a teenager.
Since bursting onto the scene at Old Trafford as a teenager, one of few rays of light during David Moyes' ill-fated reign, the undeniably gifted winger has struggled for form and consistency, and his development has suffered greatly.
Last season's loan to the Stadium of Light, where he was reunited with Moyes, the only manager who has thus far gotten a tune out of the former Anderlecht youngster, looked a wise move at first. But the Black Cats were relegated and Januzaj's flashes of inspiration throughout the season could be counted one hand.
Once tipped to be the future of United, Januzaj found himself without any real prospect of first-team involvement back at his parent club. Four years on from his senior debut in the Community Shield as an 18-year-old, now 22, demand for the player was low, and the Red Devils accepted La Real‘s offer for the Brussels-born player.
The move took Januzaj to a club where his former manager Moyes had tried to rebuild his own post-United career and struck out miserably. But he finds the La Liga side in much better shape than the Scot left them.
Thanks to the fine work of coach Eusebio Sacristán, the Anoeta is now home to a vibrant and progressive team who, despite a gaping disparity in budget, are threatening to muscle their way into the division's cabal of elite sides.
Sacristán's team is made up of a mixture of wily veterans, like club legend Xabi Prieto, and young prodigies such as Mikel Oyarzabal. But, most importantly for Januzaj, the Basque club has become a place where former wonderkids whose careers had gone awry can find solace and rebuild.
Right Place, Right Time
Carlos Vela, now the club's deputy captain, was marked out as a young player of real promise while at Arsenal, having top-scored for the Mexico youth team that won the FIFA U17 World Cup in 2005 and impressed in early League Cup outings with the Gunners.
But, after loan spells at Salamanca, Osasuna, West Bromwich Albion and Sociedad, it became clear he did not figure in Arsène Wenger's plans and joined La Real on a permanent basis in 2012. He has now made over 200 appearances for the club and is one of La Liga's most underrated attackers.
Brazilian striker Willian José had a spell with Real Madrid earlier in his career but had bounced around clubs in Brazil and Spain before finding a home at the Anoeta last season. Comfortable and trusted to be the main man, he has thrived at the point of Sociedad's attack, scoring 12 La Liga goals in 28 games last term and with two in three already in 2017/18.
Asier Illarramendi began his career with La Real, impressing so much as a young yet mature, technically gifted central midfielder that Real Madrid forked out €32.2million to sign him in 2013.
Unable to crack Los Blancos‘ first team in two campaigns at the Bernabéu, the Spain international has returned to San Sebastián, where his is valued and considered a leader. He has repaid the faith of the club, its fans and his coach by picking right up where he left off, adding power, quality and drive in the middle of the park.
Januzaj will be hoping that he will be the next in this line of players to have rediscovered their mojo with La Real. The stage is set for the Belgian and the early signs are good. He made his debut in the their round of la Liga fixtures, a 4-2 victory over Deportivo La Coruña at La Riazor.
The win left Sacristán's men joint-top of La Liga, level with Barcelona on maximum points. And the forma Barça B coach, who was linked with the top job at the Camp Nou earlier this year before committing his future to Sociedad, will have been thoroughly content with his new Belgian charge's performance.
Playing on the right of La Real‘s 4-3-3, Januzaj was neat and tidy in his work, linking well with colleagues and looking to be decisive when the opportunity presented itself. But the 22-year-old wasn't forcing the issue, trying too much and taking unnecessary risks, evidence, perhaps, of a new maturity.
However, a recent interview with Spanish newspaper AS suggests that the young attacker still has some way to go in that regard. “If I score a goal I will dedicate it to Van Gaal,” he said. “I don’t want to talk about him but everyone knows how many problems I had with him. We didn’t have the best of rapports.”
The fact that he is unable to compartmentalise what happened in Manchester, and appears to be pursuing a vendetta against the man who replaced Moyes in the Old Trafford dugout, suggests Januzaj still has a little growing up to do.
United reportedly insisted on a buyback option being included in the deal that took the player to Spain, so their may yet be another chapter in his Premier League story.
But, for now, it's all about getting back to basics for the Belgian. Promised the world as a teenager, managerial uncertainty and questions over his attitude have meant that he is not where he expected to be at 22. He is, however, in the right place, with the right team and the right coach, for this phase of his career.