AS is often the case with so-called ‘maverick’ players, Kevin van Veen takes a bit of managing. As FC Groningen head coach Dick Lukkien is finding out at the minute.

The former Motherwell hero has had a bit of a rough time of it since returning to his homeland, clashing with his manager on occasion and – as the club’s marquee summer signing - bearing the brunt of blame from supporters when results haven’t gone their way.

On a personal level, his partner has remained in Scotland, and is due to give birth in a few weeks. And all of these factors, it seems, have the Dutchman pining for a return to Scotland.

He has made that known this week through the media, and after his stunning form at Motherwell last season in particular, he is open to the idea of coming back to Fir Park in January.

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There are significant hurdles to such a move, with finance being chief among them, but Stuart Kettlewell is hoping that his own personal relationship with the forward may be the thing that tips the balance in his club’s favour.

Kettlewell was able to get the best of out of Van Veen, wringing that little bit more out of him to have him performing with a level of consistency he has rarely shown throughout his career. So while he has a reputation for being a little bit hard to handle, Kettlewell would love the chance to team up with him once more.

“I know Kevin gets that reputation,” Kettlewell said.

“Sometimes I like those situations where you as a manager or coach are on your toes. If we’re all robotic and had the same personalities or thought the same way and reacted the same, it would become a bit boring.

“Sometimes the bit that can be lost with Kevin is it was always with the view of being better himself or with the view of Motherwell being better when he was here.

“Whether it was in training, being vocal at half-time. Those types of things don’t concern me at all. As a player I would often be one who was pretty vocal.

“Sometimes it’s that bit about the maverick as well. I speak about that guy that can do things you didn’t think were possible. You think to some of his goals, touches and imagination. Always there’s sometimes a flaw with the genius.

“But I don’t see it as a flaw at times, it’s just a different personality or character and I can only go on record saying how much I enjoyed working with the guy. The fact I’m still in contact with him now probably tells you that relationship was a strong one.

“I keep abreast of the situation [at Groningen] and I think there may have been a spell where supporters over there maybe took exception to Kev and he was maybe bearing the brunt of a couple of bad defeats.

“That’s football. Sometimes we think it’s isolated in Scotland but it’s not.

“I’ve genuinely not asked Kevin if that was the situation. I know his girlfriend is ready to give birth in the next week or two so my call was more about ‘how’s things and how are you keeping and how’s the family?’

“He’s clearly going through some challenges, but Kevin has been through a few in his career and it's fairly certain he’s a guy that will embrace it, deal with it and move on to the next aspect whether that’s at Groningen or, as has been mentioned, a loophole to get himself back to Scotland.

“Would I want a top-quality striker at the club? Of course I would. Someone whose last act in the Scottish game was to score his 29th goal? You’d love him at your club, and I make no secrets about that.

“I think everyone would love to see him back in the Scottish game but in simple terms all this comes down to money.

“If there was an option there then there would be a lot to talk about in terms of what the financial package would look like and whether Motherwell could afford that.”

Therein, lies the rub. Motherwell currently have five senior strikers on their books, and there isn’t a great deal of wiggle room when it comes to expanding the wage budget.

So, any move back to Fir Park may be heavily influenced by how accommodating Groningen may be, or how motivated they are, to get Van Veen off their books.

“Whatever happens is down to the club who currently owns him,” Kettlewell said.

“Whatever happens, we could come up with a theory and a number of other clubs could do the same if Kevin says he wants to come back to Scotland. But ultimately it comes down to Groningen.

“If it was a loan or however it looked, it’s not the suitors who dictate that, it’s the club who hold his current contract. What percentage would they be looking for?

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“I know that’s going into a bit of specifics because it’s not really a situation as such. I’ve not been on to him to plead or beg him to come back to Motherwell. I also acknowledge how good a player he is and how much I enjoyed working with him and the effect he had here.

“Without going around the houses and saying you wouldn’t like the player to come back, of course you would. But there’s a bit of respect in where he is right now.

“Less than six months ago we sold him and circumstances change in football. So, who knows?

“But all I’m trying to indicate is we couldn’t keep Kevin because we couldn’t get close to the numbers that were spoken about elsewhere. If those numbers look very similar, if there was an opportunity to bring Kevin back then I think everyone knows Motherwell aren’t paying out the large sums in Scottish football.

“It’s all befitting of your situation and what you can afford.”