Danny Welbeck looks set to leave Manchester United after Louis van Gaal rejected numerous opportunities to publicly assure the striker he has a future at Old Trafford.
In a move which will surprise a large section of the United fan base, Welbeck has been told he can leave the club he has supported since he was young.
The striker looked to be central to Van Gaal's future plans after enjoying a successful pre-season tour, but Press Association Sport reported the 23-year-old is free to leave Old Trafford.
During a heated press conference at the club's training ground, Van Gaal refused to knock down reports that Welbeck was set to leave.
After being asked the question for a fourth time, the United manager snapped: "I discuss it with (executive vice-chairman) Ed Woodward and the Glazers, not with the media.
"I don't ask you if you are sacked tomorrow. It is the same thing. "I discuss it with players and the players discuss it with me."
Van Gaal admits he has spoken to several players about their futures since returning from the club's tour of the United States.
It is understood up to 12 players could depart before the transfer window shuts on September 1. Any sales could be inhibited by the fact that the club do not want to sell any players to their rivals for a top-four place.
That could have an impact on Welbeck, who is said to be of interest to Arsenal and Tottenham.
Van Gaal is clearly unhappy details of the conversation he had with Welbeck have been leaked.
Van Gaal said: "The media were not in the room and I do not speak about that because that's private.
"I know what I said to Danny and Danny knows exactly what I said to him. "I assume that Danny Welbeck is not saying anything about our conversation and also in that conversation was (assistant manager) Ryan Giggs and he doesn't say (anything) either, and that is the way it should be."
Welbeck is struggling with a knee injury he suffered in the US and could miss United's trip to Sunderland on Sunday.
Van Gaal's plans for his second Premier League match have also been hit by ankle injuries to Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera.
Fellaini, who like Herrera suffered the injury in training, will have a scan on his ankle on Saturday.
Van Gaal is without Jonny Evans, Michael Carrick, Jesse Lingard, Luke Shaw and new signing Marcos Rojo, who is still awaiting a work permit following his £16million move from Sporting Lisbon.
"In my career as a trainer-coach I have never had seven injuries in my selection," Van Gaal said.
One crumb of comfort for the Dutchman is the return of Robin van Persie, who missed the 2-1 defeat to Swansea as he was short of fitness following his late return from the World Cup.
Van Gaal said: "Robin is ready to play so that's a big benefit to the team. I am very happy."