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Flashback October 2013: Manchester United’s disastrous season is about to get worse. David Moyes’ side are down to a solitary goal against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light going into half time, looking down the barrel. In comes a relative unknown 18 year old and in a magic spell of 6 minutes, United are ahead. The away side eventually grab a much needed win thanks to Adnan Januzaj’s brace as the teenager hogs the limelight.
Moyes at the end of the game hails Januzaj impact, “’It wasn’t just his goals. ‘It was his passing, his movement. He’s a very good player. I gave Wayne Rooney his debut at 16, Ross Barkley his debut at 16 and Adnan is certainly up there with all those boys. I would have started him four weeks ago but for different reasons I didn’t quite get it the way I wanted. He’s been that good.”
Fast forward a season and a half, Januzaj who was expected to feature regularly in the United team this season has just made 11 appearances, with 7 being from the bench. Unsurprisingly, he has failed to hit the back of the net and in recent weeks his future has come under intense speculations. The arrival of Angel Di Maria hasn’t helped too while Louis Van Gaal’s obsession for the 3-5-2 setup makes his unwanted. The youngster is more suited in a more conventional 4-3-3 and could also fit in a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-4-2 setup.
Stats from Last season:
Adnan Januzaj: Of players with 5+ PL apps last season, only Snodgrass & Hazard were fouled more times per game than Januzaj (2.2) #mufc
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) August 24, 2014
What Now: Van Gaal has used Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia in the wingbacks role not due to their attacking prowess but their ability to defend. Januzaj is someone who thrives running at defenders with the ball and being very agile is a nightmare to defend against. However it’s unlikely he would get enough game-time this season. Thus a loan deal till the end of the season or even till next term would suit both parties.
At such a stage in his career Januzaj, a precocious talent who is blessed with either feet. He showed flashes of brilliance in the 1-1 draw against Chelsea playing from the right as he came up against Felipe Luis. Though he can play the number ten role as well, the current slot is occupied by captain Wayne Rooney.
David Moyes has expressed his desire to take Januzaj on loan while PSG and a host of European giants are also interested. United would surely won’t sell the youngster but could sanction a 18 month loan to a club where he will get enough gametime. Moving to Real Sociedad could do him a world of good. Moyes could easily turn him into a better player, work on his weakness and playing in the highest echelons in Spanish football will give him confidence before he returns to United.
So would we witness the United faithful singing, “I wanna tell you, I might as well do, About a boy who can do anything, His name is Adnan, He comes from Belgium, Januzaj, Januzaj, Januzaj!”