When Adnan Januzaj burst onto the scene three seasons ago, he arrived at almost the perfect time for Manchester United fans. The club was struggling in the immediate aftermath of Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, and would go on to finish 7th in the Premier League that season having one it barely twelve months earlier. David Moyes’ reign was something of a mess, characterised by plodding, sloppy football and damaging results both in Europe and in all three domestic competitions, but Januzaj offered a frequent bright spot. The Belgian youngster may have only bagged four goals in that season, but his famous brace against Sunderland, including a famous volley and the visible wizardry in the 21-year old’s legs made him an exciting prospect for United’s future.
Unfortunately, as is often the case, things haven’t turned out as planned. Januzaj failed to make an impression on Louis Van Gaal in the Dutchman’s two seasons at the club. A loan move to Borussia Dortmund last season was cut short with the German club’s manager Thomas Tuchel bemoaning Januzaj’s attitude, and things have hardly improved for the winger since Jose Mourinho took over this summer.
A season-long loan move to Sunderland and a reunion with David Moyes was seen as a wise move in order to give the Belgian some first team football, but even that appears to have backfired. Januzaj scored a wonderful strike against Shrewsbury Town in the EFL Cup, but has struggled in a team that has registered one point from six Premier League games. To make matters worse, Januzaj is facing an extended spell on the sidelines having picked up an ankle injury.
A statement on Sunderland’s official website reads: “Adnan Januzaj has been ruled out for a minimum of six weeks after suffering an ankle injury during Sunderland’s 3-2 defeat to Crystal Palace.
“The on-loan Manchester United winger has impressed following a loan move from Old Trafford, putting in a number of positive performances in the Premier League while scoring a stunning winner in the EFL Cup.
Januzaj’s current loan move to Sunderland is viewed as a last attempt to prove to the club that he has what it takes to succeed at Old Trafford, but the increasing speculation is that the Belgian’s application isn’t sufficient in order to become a permanent fixture at United. Sunderland’s appraisal above doesn’t necessarily ring true, either; Januzaj hasn’t enjoyed a great start to life at The Stadium of Light, having seen red for two yellow cards against Tottenham Hotspur earlier on this season.
It’s a shame to see a young talent struggle, especially when they’re as capable as Januzaj is, but given the lack of success during this current loan spell, and his issues over the previous two seasons, it wouldn’t be a shock if he’d already played his last game for the club.