NAME: Adnan Januzaj
POSITION: Attacking midfielder
CLUB: Manchester United
MARKET VALUE: £1,800,000
Many Manchester United fans would have been excited to see their new young future hope Wilfried Zaha light up Old Trafford with dazzling skills and explosive pace. However, the former Crystal Palace man has struggled for game time with the Red Devils and could be set for a loan move in January.
This is because there has been a new stir around Manchester with the name of Adnan Januzaj on everyone’s lips. The young Belgian has made an instant impact after being tipped to lead the United midfield in the future.
He left Anderlecht in 2011, signing for United at the age of 16. Towards the end of last season, Sir Alex Ferguson promoted Januzaj to first team and he was given the 44 shirt. Despite not making an appearance in the league, he was included on their pre-season tour and scored in their final game against Kitchee. He also appeared in Rio Ferdinand’s testimonial against Sevilla grabbing an assist in the 3-1 defeat.
Under David Moyes, Januzaj made his competitive debut in the Community Shield against Wigan and his Premier League debut replacing Ashley Young against Crystal Palace. Januzaj scored his first Premier League goals and the winner on his first start for the club against Sunderland as United came from behind to win 2-1.
After the goal, clubs circled like sharks with Januzaj available for transfer for ‘minimal compensation’ due to his expiring contract. Juventus profited off United not tying Paul Pogba to a new contract who has since went on the be the lynchpin of the Italian midfield and lift the Scudetto. Eager to avoid another Pogba scenario, United signed the young Belgian to a new five year deal.
Due to his run of form, his international future has came under debate. Despite being born in Belgium, he can represent Albania, Kosovo and eventually England as Roy Hodgeson stated that the Football Association were ‘monitoring’ his situation.
Januzaj possesses great balance and has a knack of being able to ride a tackle – similar to Lionel Messi. He can move quickly with the ball using effective manoeuvres to beat his opponent. He drifts past players with ease and is quickly becoming one of the world’s best young players.
It remains to be seen whether he can shake off the tags of ‘one hit wonder’ and make a sustained impact and avoid becoming a Federico Macheda.