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Where Are They Now? Adnan Januzaj – Cristiano Ronaldo comparisons suggested he was the boy that could do anything

Nine years ago, Manchester United signed 16-year-old Adnan Januzaj from Anderlecht after impressing in a skills session in Brussels, Belgium. After a seemingly glittering career in the academy at United, Januzaj was promoted to the first team during the 2012/13 season, which was also Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season at the club before retirement. Januzaj never featured inn the first team for Ferguson but was an unused substitute in his final game as United manager, a 5-5 draw with West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns.

For his performances for the then U21s, now the U23s, Januzaj was awarded the Denzil Haroun Reserve Player of the Year award for the 2012/13 season. Under the management of David Moyes, despite this being his ill-fated season at the Old Trafford club, Januzaj kept his place in the first team squad, playing in the pre-season tour of Asia, scoring in the final tour match against Kitchee. In Rio Ferdinand’s testimonial at Old Trafford, Januzaj started, assisting United’s only goal in the 3-1 defeat to Sevilla.

In his debut season at the club, which was also his best in terms of bringing something to the team, Januzaj played 35 times in all competitions, scoring four goals and six assists – United only won the FA Community Shield that season, seeing Moyes sacked at Easter time and finishing seventh in the Premier League – the worst season to date. Ryan Giggs was the caretaker manager for the final four matches of the season with Louis van Gaal installed as the permanent manager during the summer, prior to the 2014/15 season, which needed to be a good one for United.

Januzaj only played 21 times that season, failing to score a single goal or assist, at least in the first team. Januzaj was loaned to Borussia Dortmund for the 2015/16 season, but after 12 appearances for the club, with no goals and three assists to his name, his loan spell was ended on the 6 January 2016 and he returned to United. He played seven times for United, scoring one goal and it was starting to look like the end of the road for the player at United.

During the 2016/17 season, Januzaj was loaned to Sunderland for the entire season, linking up with Moyes. Despite playing 28 times for the first team, the Belgian scored just one goal, assisting three times for the club. It was clear that Moyes rated the player but his lack of performances on loan would not keep him at United. In the summer of 2017, Januzaj signed a five-year contract with La Liga side Real Sociedad. It was a shame to see another bright youngster leave United, especially after periods of promise.

With United still reeling from the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo at the time he broke through into the first team, with some comparisons at the time, many were let down. In his debut season (2017/18) in Spain, Januzaj made a total of 35 appearances for the Basque club, scoring four goals and a further six assists, playing in La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Europa League. During the 2018/19 season, Januzaj played just 24 times, scoring twice and assisting four more goals for his club.

In the 2019/20 season, which was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, Januzaj seems to be finding his feet and showing some promise. In 29 appearances throughout the season, before and after the coronavirus pandemic, the now 25-year-old has scored eight goals, assisting a further four, playing in La Liga and the Copa del Rey. So far, it was the best season of the Belgian’s career and it could be the start of something for the winger. It was a shame he never really made it at United but that does not mean he did not have ability – he had plenty of it. He has two goals in six appearances this season.

Different things happen at different times and people react differently. I am glad his career is seemingly picking up. As yet, it is not yet know whether La Liga will continue this season, if it does, Januzaj will be seeking to pick up where he left off. Real Sociedad were fourth in the league at the time the league was suspended, which could bring riches to the club in the form of European football. Seeing Januzaj shine will make me smile. The boy could do anything, except make it work at United.

Written by John Walker

Adnan Januzaj set for Real Sociedad switch after £9.8 million fee agreed – reports

Manchester United attacking midfielder Adnan Januzaj looks set to depart the club after reports of a £9.8 million fee being agreed between the Old Trafford club and La Liga side Real Sociedad with a medical set for Wednesday. The Belgian-born winger rose through the ranks at United under David Moyes, being the bright park in the side that season but after that season, the player declined and found it hard to nail down a spot in United’s first team. During the 2015/16 season, Januzaj was loaned to Borussia Dortmund for the entirety of the season with that move being terminated ahead of Christmas in 2016 and the winger was sent back to the Old Trafford club. The remainder of that season was spent with the player in the U21 side, making a few more first team appearances.

Under the management of Louis van Gaal, Januzaj was a player who had a lot to do in order to win back his place, which never happened and he was not picked for the Emirates FA Cup final squad that season, which United won. Last summer Jose Mourinho was the United manager and despite him praising Januzaj over the previous few years, before even becoming the United manager, the player was not part of Mourinho’s squad with him being made available for another season-long loan spell. Januzaj spent last season with Sunderland, again under the guidance of Moyes – which seemingly failed with the player scoring once in the Premier League for the relegation-threatened who were sent back to the Championship last season.

Januzaj seems to have the ability but possibly not the mentality to make a success of himself which is a shame after a bright start the season after Sir Alex Ferguson retired. Januzaj showed much promise in that season, seeing himself compared to Cristiano Ronaldo, but that all seems to be a thing of the past. Mourinho told the 22-year-old this summer that he would be free to seek another club this summer as he would not be given a squad number this coming season, which is probably the right thing to do. If Januzaj was going to succeed at United, he would have put his mind to it and succeeded, but he has failed at the top-level, which is not to say that he will fail on a smaller stage.

The BBC have reported that United have accepted a £9.8 million fee for Januzaj, which is a good deal for United with the player entering the final year of his Old Trafford contract. Real Sociedad, a team Moyes formerly managed seem to want the player, if the reports are true, which could be a good break for him. Januzaj will need to put his head down and look at where he went wrong. He needs to eradicate his attitude and blatant disrespect for the opposition. I say that because he was trying to score from multiple corner attempts in an U21 match and Warren Joyce, the manager of the side at the time was shouting at him from the touchline. Januzaj could make it in Spain, but this might be his last chance in a top European league.

Adnan Januzaj not part of pre-season tour squad amid rumours of his departure

Adnan Januzaj has been left out of Manchester United’s pre-season tour squad amid rumours of an impending departure from the Theatre of Dreams this summer. Looking back to the ill-fated season under David Moyes, Januzaj was the main story of that season, signing a new contract and really looking the part on the pitch. The two goals he scored against Sunderland, ensuring United won at the Stadium of Light gave supporters the belief that they had seen a player rise to the stage much like Cristiano Ronaldo did ten years earlier, but that soon started to fizzle out for young Januzaj.

David Moyes was sacked around Easter in 2014 after United suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Everton, Moyes’ former club. Ryan Giggs took over the helm for the remainder of the season – four matches and Louis van Gaal came in the following summer, staying at the club for two years before he saw himself departing the Old Trafford club after guiding them to the Emirates FA Cup with a victory over Crystal Palace at Wembley, albeit going into extra time. Jose Mourinho was then made the United manager and is now heading into his second season with the club. After his first season at the club, Januzaj regressed, failing to bring to light that form which saw him as a rising star.

During the second season under Van Gaal, Januzaj was loaned to Borussia Dortmund, failing to set the stage alight in the Bundesliga with that season-long loan spell being ended around Christmas time, because of the winter break, with Januzaj heading back to Old Trafford, where he played a few more first team matches, missing the Emirates FA Cup final and losing more plaudits for various reasons including trying to score goals from corners whilst playing the United U21 side, now the U23’s, which is pretty disrespectful to his opposition. It was clear to say Adnan Januzaj was on the decline. Mourinho had previously praised the player and it could have been a big season for him under the Portuguese, but a loan spell at Sunderland was set in motion.

That season saw Januzaj fail to set the relegation-threatened club with the belief that the player was destined for greatness only scoring one goal throughout the season, ending with a place on the bench. It just does not seem to have gone well for the Belgian-born winger, and now it seems about to get worse for him. Andreas Pereira had a loan spell in La Liga with Granada, who were eventually relegated, but the Belgian-born Brazilian showed promise in his ability and earned himself a chance at United this pre-season with him being included in Mourinho’s squad which headed to Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon. Januzaj was not part of the squad with speculation, albeit some weeks ago, linking him to Real Sociedad, another club David Moyes had managed.

The fact Januzaj was not included in Mourinho’s pre-season tour squad would suggest that his future at Old Trafford has already been determined with Mourinho confirming to the media before the end of the season that he had decided what he would do with the player, choosing not to confirm anything at the time. On Saturday night, The Mirror reported that Januzaj would not be given a squad number this season, which is effectively suggesting the player will no longer play for United. Januzaj was again linked to Real Sociedad who are interested in the £12 million-rated winger, whose contract expires at the end of the 2017/18 season, meaning the player has less than a year left at the club.

The 22-year-old now faces a lot of work to return to form and make something out of his talent, which would be a waste if he continued to fail. The fact he has failed under David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Thomas Tuchel and Moyes again would to me suggest there is an underlying problem which is not there because of one particular club, meaning the player’s failure can be attributed to him and him only. There is only so far a player can get himself and living off the success of three seasons ago just will not wash with any manager today – you need to create that success in the present and ahead to the future, rather than living in the past. Many players with talent have not made it at the highest stage, that is all part and process of this game.

Adnan Januzaj to leave Manchester United this summer?

Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj could be set to leave the Old Trafford club this summer according to reports. The Mirror has suggested the Spanish side Real Sociedad could be interested in the Belgian-born winger for a fee which was reported as £9.7 million, which in my opinion would be a good deal for United based on the fact the player has not really continued his development over the last few years. Januzaj emerged under David Moyes during the 2013/14 season after being named on the bench for Sir Alex Ferguson’s final match in charge of the club, a 5-5 draw against West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League. During his debut season, Januzaj was the excitement as United had fallen short under the former Everton manager.

In his debut season, Januzaj made 35 appearances for United, scoring four goals, his first two against Sunderland with United coming from behind to take all three points away from the Stadium of Light. At the time, the winger was compared to Cristiano Ronaldo based on his talent, which at the time looked promising. Moyes had stuck by the player throughout the season, with interim manager Ryan Giggs ending the season, giving the young Belgian the chance to develop even more. The arrival of Louis van Gaal in the following summer may have been a contributing factor in the player’s demise, but he was given 21 appearances under the Dutchman, failing to score a single goal that season.

Under Van Gaal for a second season, Januzaj seemed to have lost his purpose, at least on the pitch wearing a Manchester United shirt. At the start of the 2015/16 season, Januzaj made four appearances for United, scoring once away at Aston Villa, the only goal of the match with United taking all three points back to Old Trafford. The winger was loaned with Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund opting to sign the player for the remainder of the season but he only made 12 appearances between the 12th September and the 10th December 2015 with the player being sent back to Manchester with Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel speaking to Sport Bild about the player, saying:

“I never had the feeling Adnan was here with his whole heart, but rather that a part of him stayed in Manchester and compared everything with Manchester United. We were not able to help him let go of it. Sadly, he wasn’t in it with the motivation and attitude you need to further yourself at this age.”

During his loan spell at Dortmund, Januzaj must have seen the problems with his attitude and mindset which were hampering his development, something that does not seem to have gotten any better in the years since the experience. Januzaj ended the season at United, mainly playing U21 football but he did feature three more times for United, against failing to show the form required to keep his place. Januzaj was a free-scoring player in the U21 league, not putting the required standard in to remain a part of the first team. Januzaj missed out on an FA Cup final place with United lifting the cup in May 2016. Louis van Gaal was then sacked and Januzaj would have the chance to earn his place again under a new manager, the third one after Sir Alex Ferguson.

Jose Mourinho came in as United manager in the summer of 2016, giving Januzaj a chance during pre-season, but a loan spell was on the cards for the player, this time in the Premier League with strugglers Sunderland, reunited once against with David Moyes. What could possibly go wrong? Januzaj had the chance to show his abilities in a struggling side, a player which if he found his spark could have thrived in the team, becoming their main creator and maybe even scorer of goals. Januzaj made 28 appearances for the doomed club, scoring one goal and also being sent off once, which was the main highlight of his season if you could call it that. Adnan Januzaj was in danger of losing his chance to play for Manchester United again. Sunderland were relegated and David Moyes resigned from the club.

This summer will see Januzaj and probably a few others players search for new clubs with Mourinho confirming earlier this year that he had decided what to do with the young player, but did not confirm anything. That seems to be with him showing the player the door as, to be honest, there is not much point keeping a player who is just not taking his chances or developing with the promise he had four years ago. That sort of thing should not be rewarded. Real Sociedad seem keen on signing the player, with the media suggesting they are not the only ones. If United were able to sell the player for anything over £9 million, the club will be doing something very well.

The Mirror stated that there could be a clause entered in any transfer for the player with the club able to re-sign the player for a set fee, something similar to that is thought to be present in the contract for Memphis Depay, who left the club for Lyon in January. TalkSPORT did report that the player and his representatives were not interested in such a thing though, seemingly with the player may be blaming United for his downfall. You can have all the memories of ability but if you are not showing that ability, which seems to have been the case for the last three seasons, all coming after his season under Moyes, you would think that the spark in Januzaj’s talent is well and truly out, perhaps with a small chance of it being reignited.

Six Manchester United players who face uncertain outcomes this season

Manchester United started a new era last summer with the arrival of Jose Mourinho. Four players were brought in by the Portuguese; Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba. All four players have either found their feet or are heading leaps and bounds in the right direction to find them. Zlatan has scored 26 goals so far this season, helping the club to win both the FA Community Shield and the EFL Cup, which in effect secured the third and fourth trophies for the club post Sir Alex Ferguson, or if you would rather, the second major trophy, the first being the Emirates FA Cup won by Louis van Gaal last season. Mourinho has talked about this coming summer with two or three players likely to be brought in with United and Mourinho overseeing a possible flurry of players surplus to requirements heading out of the club.

Luke Shaw

Luke Shaw has had a poor first season under Jose Mourinho. It is fair to say that his injury sustained in the 2015/16 season, which kept him out for the rest of the season, was enough to sideline him both physically and mentally and you could say that it still bears an effect on him today. Serious injuries do take time to return from, but from what is seen from the outside of the club, it does not look too good for the former Southampton defender. Shaw has made 14 appearances this season, the last of which was against Wigan Athletic in the Emirates FA Cup on the 29th January 2017. He was involved in the squad for the 2-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers on the 19th February 2017 but did not get onto the pitch during the match. The fact Shaw was overlooked for the trip to Saint-Etienne with United 3-0 up on aggregate from the first leg at Old Trafford could suggest that his days are numbered at the Theatre of Dreams. A run of matches to get back into the swing of things would do him well, but Mourinho has suggested that Shaw is still behind the likes of Daley Blind, Matteo Darmian and Marcos Rojo in the left-back role. Currently, Shaw is linked to Tottenham Hotspur, according to The Sun, which could be a load of made up rubbish, but who knows. Working with Mauricio Pochettino could inspire Shaw to make his comeback, but it would be the easy way out for him.

Matteo Darmian

Matteo Darmian started his Manchester United career last season under Louis van Gaal and was quickly praised as the second coming of Gary Neville. His form then went south and it went from bad to worse as the season drew on. This season, under Jose Mourinho, Darmian had the chance to restore himself into the starting XI, but the form of Antonio Valencia has kept him out of his favoured position at right-back. The Italian has made 16 appearances this season, most of which have come with him playing in the left-back role, a secondary role Darmian has played before, and seems to have done well as he his placed higher in the squad than Luke Shaw, who was mentioned above. Darmian was linked with a move back to Italy in the summer and again in January and will probably be linked with a possible departure this coming summer, a summer which could see Mourinho add two-three players to his squad in order to create a finishing touch to his Manchester United side, one which will be expected to challenge for the Premier League title, something they seem to have come up short on this season, but mathematically it is still possible, for the time being at least. Darmian is running out of time to restore himself at United if that chance has not gone already. As an Italian international, he will want to play for his country, but seldom playing could hamper that.

Bastian Schweinsteiger

Bastian Schweinsteiger started the season being frozen out of the Manchester United first team and training with the U23 side. Not long after this, Jose Mourinho allowed the veteran German to train with his teammates again, which then saw him being added to matchday squads with him returning to action against West Ham United in the 4-1 victory in the EFL Cup on the 30th November 2016. Schweinsteiger then played another match over a month later, this time in the Emirates FA Cup in the 4-0 victory over Reading at Old Trafford, appearing again in the next round in which United beat Wigan Athletic 4-0 with the German scoring one of the goals. Schweinsteiger then returned for the UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg clash with Saint-Etienne in which United won 1-0, 4-0 on aggregate. Not playing in the Premier League may well change with the fixture pile up United have at the moment with five matches being played in March, six in April and so far two matches yet to be rearranged against Manchester City and Southampton. Schweinsteiger may not have a future at United longer than the end of the season, but playing a part could well be a good decision from Mourinho who has praised his work ethic, even when he was frozen out of the team. The German confirmed that he would not play for another European club during his career with a move to the MLS seemingly on the cards, maybe China, which would surprise me.

Ashley Young

Ashley Young has played 14 times for Manchester United this season, playing a bit part figure at the club. His last match, the 1-0 victory over Saint-Etienne saw him play in defence, despite the fact he has always been a winger at the club. Jose Mourinho has praised Young a few times this season, also suggesting that he wanted to keep him at the club. He had offers last summer and also in January, then with the Chinese Super League window closing at the end of February, reports surfaced that he was still a target, which again did not materialise. Young’s current contract expires in the summer of 2018, but United do have the option to add another year to that contract, should his services be required at the club. This summer may be the last chance for the club to see any return for the 31-year-old who signed for United from Aston Villa under Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer of 2011. Young has done well to achieve what he has at United, but as he is not one of the first names on the team sheet and with United looking elsewhere to find the players to challenge for the Premier League title next season, it is only a matter of time before the veteran Englishman will be heading away from the Theatre of Dreams.

Adnan Januzaj

Adnan Januzaj has spent the current season on loan with relegation candidates Sunderland under the guidance of David Moyes, who was looking to establish himself in the world of management again after his ill-fated reign of Manchester United following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in May 2013. Januzaj has made 21 appearances for the North East club, scoring one goal in the EFL Cup against Shrewsbury and seeing red against Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League weeks later. Januzaj needs to impress in order to keep his place in the Manchester United squad open for him, something he is not currently doing whilst playing for Moyes’ Sunderland. The Belgian has played well at times, but consistency seems to be a major problem for him. During the summer, both Januzaj and Andreas Pereira were loaned out, the latter to Granada in the Spanish La Liga, and has done well, despite playing for one of the poorest teams in the league, and seems to have a lot more to give to United, should he return to the club and fight for a first team place in the summer, which is likely. Januzaj seems to have risen early but just does not seem to be putting in the effort which is what previous coaches of the player have said, Warren Joyce for instance, a guy who knows what he is talking about. Mourinho will be looking for something better to complete his Manchester United squad and Januzaj does not seem to be of that ilk anymore, which is a massive shame considering he was lauded with the potential of Cristiano Ronaldo a few years back.

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney has had a mixed season under Jose Mourinho. He retained the captain’s armband, which suggested that Mourinho rated him and wanted to retain his services in the first team, which he has done, yet has not been afraid to drop the 30-year-old who has been upstaged by a play five years his senior. Gone are the days that Wayne Rooney would be lighting up the Old Trafford pitch, scoring goals for fun and being the key player for United. Rooney may have broken the 40-year goalscoring record held by Sir Bobby Charlton, but that does not bring the Rooney that signed for the club back in 2004 back. Rooney has been long linked with an exit from the Theatre of Dreams. Many thought it could have happened in the summer with his testimonial penned in for August, but nothing materialised. China were interested in the player, but Rooney seemed to have no desire to go there and play mediocre football for a substantial wage, which is fair enough. Everton, his boyhood club are calling though and are very much interested in bringing back their player, something Rooney himself is open to, which could boost the Merseyside club to maybe achieve some silverware in the new season, but that hold no guarantees. Rooney has been a great player for United, but I do not feel he is one of the legends of the club. His record is a great one to have,m especially being the top goalscorer for club and country, but compared to Sir Bobby Charlton, Rooney has a lot to achieve, which could still be done during the remainder of his career, maybe not at United.

Written by Mike Wilson

Adnan Januzaj determined to prove his doubters wrong this season

Adnan Januzaj is determined to prove his doubters wrong this season during his loan spell with David Moyes’ Sunderland. The Belgium-born winger was loaned to the lowly club in the Premier League for the entire season after being left out of the Manchester United first team squad by new manager Jose Mourinho. During Moyes’ reign at United during the 2013/14 season, Januzaj was a mainstay in the first team, being the inspiration for some of his teammates, which is the polar opposite these days. Last season, Januzaj was frozen out by Louis van Gaal and he was loaned to Borussia Dortmund, with that loan spell being terminated early with the player returning to the Old Trafford club for the remainder of the season.

It was against Sunderland where Januzaj sprung into action three years ago, rising to the top of his game and having a purple patch, really looking like he was fastly becoming the player he was tipped to become. This season, finding himself on loan at the club he performed well against, he will now be determined to get those days back, proving his doubters wrong and earning himself a position in the Manchester United team next season, which is going to have to be a string of great performances, based on the talent at the club right now, not to mention the transfer plans Mourinho and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward are planning for January and beyond. Januzaj has spoken about his mission this season with The Mirror reporting:

“It is just to prove to some of the people that they were wrong (about me).

“I will work hard to show they were wrong over the past few years.”

The 21-year-old, born in Brussels, seems determined to prove that his doubters were wrong about him and that he will work hard this season to prove that. At the end of the day, if he had worked hard for the past few seasons, he might not be in the position he is currently in. When playing for Warren Joyce’s U21 side last season, Januzaj was attempting to score from corners, which did not miss the attention of the coach who was heard shouting at the player from the touchline. That aside, Januzaj is a talented player, but the hunger he has not shown over the past two seasons has been noticed, hence why he is not involved in the Manchester United first team this season. United’s head of the Academy Nicky Butt, speaking in an interview with The Times, has backed Januzaj to return to the club next summer, also stating that he would be ‘hurt’ is the Belgian did not make it at the Old Trafford club. Butt, initially speaking about the departure of Paddy McNair, Donald Love, Tyler Blackett, Will Keane and James Weir, said:

“They’re really good lads and will have a good life, nice houses but they weren’t at the level for United. It doesn’t hurt me as much as, say, if Adnan Januzaj went and never came back. He’s got the level to play for United and win leagues and Champions Leagues. Maybe he’s not been as dedicated, a case of too much too soon, a millionaire now.”

Januzaj feels that his determination to succeed with help him to success at Manchester United. He states that he has the ‘never give up’ mentality and if something is not working as well as it could be, you need to keep working at it. It would seem that Januzaj has started to learn his lesson by his treatment thus far, which could be what he needed to get him back on track. In the past, he has looked good for United, but when you see that was in the 2013/14 season, three season’s ago, most will wonder what the point would be in retaining the player this season, who would more than likely be surplus to requirements. Having a good season away from United may mean that Mourinho will see the real Adnan Januzaj, which could work out for the player and he find his way out of the cold and back into the Manchester United squad, but he has a lot of work to achieve to even be able to think about his future at the Old Trafford club. Speaking about his determination, Januzaj said:

“Part of my mentality is to never give up, even if something goes a bit wrong you always have to keep working – that is what I have been doing. Now I have the chance to prove myself again. I spoke with David Moyes and he asked me if I wanted to come here, I said that I wanted to play football.

“He gave me the opportunity to do that. I am really thankful for that. For two years I didn’t have many chances to play but I came here to Sunderland to play games and to prove people that they were wrong.

“I never give up and I always love to play football. I am happy to be where I am and playing games. I didn’t have much game time, it was difficult and I have played three games now for Sunderland and in three games I have built my fitness back slowly. Now I need to kick-on.”

Januzaj will be given the time to succeed at Sunderland this season. David Moyes rates the player after guiding him to the heights he achieved for United three years ago, and that will make him feel he can do the same thing again. Moyes is a competent manager, at a smaller club maybe, doing well at Everton for eleven years, which may be the reason Sunderland decided to give him a chance to earn his praise once again. Sunderland has managed to avoid relegation for the last few seasons, which is disappointing as at times they have not been good enough for the Premier League. This season, Januzaj has a clean slate to show his worth to his loan club and Manchester United. The Belgian was asked about the prospects of Sunderland this season under David Moyes, saying:

“(Moyes) is building a very good team here. It is still early for him to show people what he can do, he needs time to adapt to the club, of course.

“But I think he is doing very, very well and all of the players that have been signed are all very good players.”

Januzaj should have all the ingredients to achieve at a high level, but the fact he did not seem as committed to Manchester United as some of his teammates over the last few seasons is very telling. That will be something that has been noticed by Jose Mourinho and his coaching staff and part of the decision to loan him out this season in order to see what he is made of. I don’t think Januzaj will fight his was back into Mourinho’s plans, which would be a shame. United are getting ready for the future under Mourinho, the manager has brought in players that he feels will do a job for the club for the future, putting United back on the map as one of the best clubs in the Premier League and Europe once again, which will obviously take time after three season’s out of the pecking order. Januzaj will have to pull out all of the stops in order to fight for a position in Mourinho’s squad, but he seems determined and sounds like he will be vying hard for a chance to prove himself at Old Trafford once again.

Loan Watch: Pereira and Wilson made debuts with defeats; Januzaj continues to stutter

So far this season Manchester United have five players out on loan; Guillermo Varela at Eintracht Frankfurt, Adnan Januzaj at  Sunderland, James Wilson at Derby County, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson at Wolverhampton Wanderers and Andreas Pereira at Granada. The summer transfer window closes on Wednesday evening so that number could well increase ahead of the first half of the season. The emergency loan spell window has been abolished this season, so teams will need to strengthen before the closure of the summer window. Here is how I feel the loan players did for their respective clubs this weekend.

Guillermo Varela – Eintracht Frankfurt

Guillermo Varela played 90 minutes in the 1-0 victory over Schalke in the Bundesliga on Saturday afternoon. The Uruguayan right-back played well but was booked in the final three minutes of the match. Last week, the player scored the winning penalty in the DFB-Pokal, earning his team a place in the second round of the competition. The only goal of the match was scored in the 13th minute  through Alexander Meier and was assisted by Szabolcs Huszti. Varela committed a few fouls and conceded corners on a few occasions, but he did what he needed to do in order for his side to win their first Bundesliga match this season. Varela has not been called up by Uruguay during the international break, so he will a period of rest before the season starts again.

Next Match: SV Darmstadt 98 – Bundesliga – Saturday 10th September 2016, KO 14:30 BST

Adnan Januzaj – Sunderland

Adnan Januzaj played 90 minutes in the 0-0 draw with Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon. The Belgian, despite scoring his debut goal for his loan club during the EFL Cup earlier in the week, was not on the scoresheet this weekend. He failed to achieve a shot on goal, his passing was poor; managing to successfully pass to a teammate 42% of the time. He created one chance, a key pass on the 36th minute of the match, but nothing came of it. Januzaj managed to get on of his two crosses to a teammate, again nothing transpired from them. Januzaj has talent, but his attitude seems to be something of a problem, probably why he has not been granted a chance at United this season. It could well be the end of the road for him, as looking at his form and what he offers, a player of his calibre should be head and shoulders above the players currently at Sunderland. It is funny that when he scores a goal like he did midweek, many seem to think he has made it. Not by a long shot. He has a lot to do in order to get himself back into United’s first team if that is, in fact, achievable at all. Januzaj was not called up by Belgium during the international break.

Next Match: Everton – Premier League – Monday 12th September 2016, KO 20:00 BST

James Wilson – Derby County

James Wilson was on the bench for his first Derby County match of the season following his loan move away from Manchester United. Derby was subjected to a 1-0 defeat to Burton Albion, which was a poor result for the away side. Wilson replaced Jacob Butterfield in the 56th minute of the match. The United striker had a shot on goal in the 90th minute of the match, but it was blocked. Wilson made five passes, all of which reached a teammate, which was good, but he needs to be doing more, and so do Derby. Two minutes into his debut, Wilson crossed into the box, but it did not reach a teammate and came to nothing. I am sure that given the chance, Wilson will start to find his feet, as this was his first competitive game this season. He played during some of United’s pre-season matches but had not played since then. Wilson has not been picked for England U21’s ahead of their European Championships qualifier against Norway.

Next Match: Newcastle United – Championship – Saturday 10th September 2016, KO 17:30 BST

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson – Wolverhampton Wanderers

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson was an unused substitute in the 1-0 defeat to Huddersfield Town in the Championship on Saturday afternoon. The Manchester United left-back did not feature in the EFL Cup through the week either. He has been loaned to Wolves in order to develop, but he is not going to do that on the bench, so we will keep an eye on this loan spell, which at this moment in time does remind me of Tyler Blackett’s failed loan spell at Celtic last season, but it is early days. Borthwick-Jackson, along with United teammates Dean Henderson and Axel Tuanzebe has been selected for England U20’s, who face Brazil on Sunday 4th September 2016.

Next Match: Burton Albion – Championship – Saturday 10th September 2016, KO 15:00 BST

Andreas Pereira – Granada

Andreas Pereira made his debut for Granada in the 5-1 defeat to Las Palmas in La Liga on Sunday evening. The Belgian-born Brazilian replaced Luis Martins in the 56th minute of the match, with his side trailing 2-1 at the time. Pereira had one shot on goal, in the 78th minute of the match, which was saved by the keeper. He maintained his passing at 63%, which was not all that bad. The Manchester United attack midfielder created one chance for his teammates with a key pass in the 71st minute, which came to nothing. Pereira was never going to have the debut of his life, having not played competitive football this season. The important factor is that he will gain some valuable first team football this season, in a competitive league where he will face Barcelona and Real Madrid, which may not be the best teams to play again, but the potential to learn is a massive thing for the young midfielder.

Next Match: SD Eibar – La Liga – Sunday 11th September 2016, KO 17:15 BST

Loan Watch: Guillermo Varela scores the winning penalty for Frankfurt in DFB-Pokal

So far this season Manchester United have two players out on loan; Guillermo Varela at Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt and Adnan Januzaj at Premier League side Sunderland. James Wilson is set to be loaned to Derby County, which is something that has been confirmed by both clubs over the weekend. Tyler Blackett is also linked to Championship club Reading, managed by former United defender Jaap Stam, which could be good for the player, especially after his failed loan spell with Celtic last season.

Guillermo Varela – Eintracht Frankfurt

The Uruguayan right-back was loaned to Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt for the entire 2016/17 season to gain some valuable first team experience ahead of next season, where he may be in the plans of Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. Varela started against FC Magdeburg in the DFB-Pokal and played the full 120 minutes, including the penalty shootout to decide the winner of the match. Varela played well and saw his side take the lead in the seventh minute through Branimir Hrgota, assisted by Omar Mascarell. Frankfurt was unable to secure their victory and in the 75th minute, Magdeburg equalised through a Nico Hammann free-kick. The match went into extra time with a winner not being found. Penalties would be the answer. Frankfurt was 3-3 on penalties going into sudden death and Magdeburg missed their sixth spot kick. Varela was Frankfurt’s sixth penalty taker, scoring the winning penalty of the match, which would have been a special match for him in his full debut for his loan club.

Next Match: FC Schalke 04 – Bundesliga – Saturday 27th August 2016, KO 14:30 BST

Adnan Januzaj – Sunderland

The Manchester United Academy graduate started his first match for Sunderland in the 2-1 defeat to Middlesbrough in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon, David Moyes’ second defeat of the season in the league. The Belgian playing on the right-wing in the three behind Jermaine Defoe and had a mixed game. Januzaj had four shots on goal; one being blocked, two being off target and the fourth saved by the goalkeeper. His passing was poor, only managing to complete 63% of his passes, which needs to be much better, but saying that, playing in a team as bad as Sunderland, that is going to be hard to achieve. Januzaj created three chances, all key passes – which amounted to nothing for the home side. Januzaj put nine crosses into the area, five of them corners. Only one was successful in finding a teammate. The 21-year-old is good at running towards opposition players, but his end product is terrible and needs a lot of work. Jamie Redknapp, speaking on Sky Sports spoke about Januzaj, saying:

“(He has) a god given talent that only a few possess. He needs to make a mark now, though. He’s got to the stage where he’s been on loan at Dortmund, it didn’t work out. It felt like he was sort of blame Dortmund, blame Man Utd, go and play, go and show us what you can do now, this is your opportunity. He’s got a gift. He can go by people as though they’re not there.”

Next Match: Shrewsbury Town – EFL Cup – Wednesday 24th August 2016, KO 19:45

Adnan Januzaj ‘humiliated’ after Jose Mourinho dropped him

Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj is looking to exit the club, possibly on a loan deal after being left humiliated by Jose Mourinho not selecting the player for his squad this season. Januzaj had a purple patch under the management of David Moyes during the 2013/14 season, scoring four goals in 37 appearances – also signing a new contract which would keep him at the Old Trafford club until the summer of 2018. Since then, though, Januzaj has not been a player that has continued his development. During the 2014/15 season – Louis van Gaal’s debut season, Januzaj made 21 appearances and failed to score a single goal, which suggested that something was not quite right. In the 2015/16 season, Januzaj made four appearances for United during August, scoring once. It was deemed that he was surplus to requirements and headed out on loan for the remainder of the season with Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund.

Januzaj made 12 appearances for Dortmund, again failing to score a single goal. His season-long loan spell was terminated and Januzaj found himself back at United for the remainder of the season, playing more U21 football than for the first team. The Belgian made three first team appearances for United to end the season, meaning he has made seven appearances for the Old Trafford club in total, which was not all that great for him. He seems to have regressed from the talented player who emerged from the Academy during the 2013/14 season, which suggests that all the hype may have been for nothing – humiliating in itself without being dropped by the manager.

For weeks now, Januzaj has been linked to David Moyes’ Sunderland, a team who today have signed Paddy McNair and Donald Love with the Belgian likely to move to the club on loan, despite the player himself wanting a permanent move but with United looking at the Paul Pogba saga which would see them see the player spend a period of time on loan away from the club. Januzaj has a contract which lasts just short of another two years, so he cannot really demand to leave – the club can reject it, which in time would destroy his career even more than he has done already. It is down to him at the end of the day. It is well-known that the 21-year-old has an attitude – this was seen last season whilst playing for the U21’s and trying to score from the corner, much to the annoyance of Warren Joyce, who had a go at him many a time – which could be heard from the touchline during the matches.

The Manchester Evening News suggest that Januzaj is close to a loan move to Sunderland and that is something that the Daily Mail suggest too with the latter giving a lot more insight into the reason as to why the 21-year-old is unhappy. Jose Mourinho has picked his squad for the new season, which involved Januzaj losing the number 11 shirt, being handed the number 15 instead. He played for United in their 2-0 victory over Wigan Athletic earlier in the summer, and he travelled to China with the squad, playing at the end of the 4-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund. He was not selected once the players still on their holidays had returned playing no part in the 5-2 victory over Galatasaray or the 0-0 draw with Everton ahead of the FA Community Shield, another match he played no part in. Januzaj has been forced to train with the U21’s but will not share a dressing room with them, as he is clearly above all of that being the star he now is or at least thinks he is.

Many blamed Louis van Gaal for Januzaj’s problems, but the same thing seemed to happen at Borussia Dortmund and not forgetting that he lost his place in the Belgium squad prior to the European Championships this summer. It is clear that the error lies in the hands of the player, rather than anyone else. Perhaps being compared to Cristiano Ronaldo turned him into a player whom he thought he was much better, but deep down he is not fit to lace the Portuguese winger’s boots. Januzaj has a big lesson to learn and much like Ravel Morrison, he could be looking back at the career he could have had in a few years time. Having an attitude is something that could close paths for you, which seems to be the case here.

Januzaj seems to be upset that he is not being given the chance to prove himself, after hiring a fitness coach in the summer to get ready for the Portuguese manager’s arrival. He may need to look into the word chance, you earn a chance and are not automatically granted one. If the player has an attitude and Mourinho has seen it so soon into his appointment, that does not make the player look all that good. In fact, it makes the player look petulant. No manager would want an ego like that in their team, not if they cannot back up what they think they can do on the pitch – which is Januzaj to a tee. Januzaj needs to take a long hard look at himself in a mirror, if not the one in the U21 dressing room, the one in the toilet he gets changed in, as he obviously sees himself as something he is not. How much his U21 teammates feel to have a player like him within their team which at the end of the day could cause more damage than good.

Manchester United seem to have much more faith in Januzaj that he may deserve. He has talent and has proven that albeit three years ago. There is something there, but the discontent he has shown needs to be worked out of him, hence the loan spell the club want him to have as it could put his career back on track. United have suffered from many players over the last three years not pulling their weight and Januzaj would be like that if granted a chance. He would end up either sitting on the bench the majority of the time, or not making the matchday squad at all. That would make him even worse. What he needs is the good old-fashioned treatment to show him that in order to get a chance, he would need to earn it. Spending time away from United on loan could be his chance to impress the manager and be granted a chance, Mourinho owes nothing to Januzaj and right now the player himself owes a lot to the club rather than the petulance and bad attitude he seems to be showing.

Januzaj may not want a loan spell at a club like Sunderland, dreaming of a move to Italy or Spain where he feels he will be granted the chance he wants. Thing is, what if his new club picks up on his arrogance and this who scenario transfers itself to a new club with him? Will he still continue to blame others for his miscomings, or will the penny drop and he realise that all this was down to him, his attitude and his petulance? Januzaj going to a team he would play regularly in would be a good thing. It may not be the boost he needs, but playing regularly will help him shake all this petulance out of himself, feel better for playing and eventually show his manager what he is capable of. Nobody is guaranteed anything in life, apart from death. If you desperately want a chance, you have to earn it and prove yourself during that chance. If you fail to do so, you stock will have fallen and you have to work much harder in order to be granted the same chance again, if ever. Adnan Januzaj had the world at his feet until his arrogance shone through. Until that changes, it will always be the same, wherever he goes.

copyright: JW