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Adieu Adnan

June 23, 2017 Tags: Opinion 9 comments
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“This is the end, beautiful friend, my only friend, the end” – The Doors.

It’s pretty safe to say that Adnan Januzaj’s United career can be filed in the ‘not quite good enough’ drawer. There’ll be a sense of bitterness, if there isn’t already, that a highly talented academy graduate will be moving on to pastures new, and perhaps a justifiable sense of anger that the Belgian didn’t kick on after his breakthrough season. Yet, perhaps the most appropriate feeling is one of sadness.

Sadness that he didn’t build on his good start when the path was there to succeed. Januzaj “burned out then faded away,” to paraphrase Neil Young’s My My, Hey Hey. But for a few months in the 2013/14 season he burned bright and shone, providing a light in the darkness of the Moyes error.

"It is sad that a gifted academy graduate didn’t make the grade. United fans glimpsed, if only for a short time, the talent Januzaj holds."

It can be argued that United’s mediocrity under the former Everton manager made Januzaj stand out that much more because fans were desperately looking for something – or someone – positive on which to latch. Quite the burden for a player who was just a teenager at the time.

It’s tempting to dive in and dissect everything that went wrong for Januzaj since his break-out season. He was marginalised by Louis van Gaal, told-off by Thomas Tuchel during an ill-fated loan at Borussia Dortmund, and made an underwhelming impact in a Sunderland side that wasn’t exactly brimming with quality. Januzaj’s time at Wearside was made to look all the more worse as it ran in parallel Andreas Pereira’s impressive campaign for struggling Granada.


Adnan Januzaj


Odd statement as this may be, but for all this to go wrong, Januzaj must have done something very right to begin with to be in a position to fall from such a height. His breakthrough season was a breath of fresh air and the Belgian seemingly possessed the hallmarks of a classic Manchester United player; skillful, quick and fearless, Januzaj was courageous when his side was at its most timid.

There was the grand announcement, scoring a brace against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light to turn a one goal deficit into a 2-1 win. “We are watching somespecial here,” proclaimed an excited Gary Neville and in that moment the former United full-back was right. His first goal at Old Trafford against West Ham United was a picture in confidence coupled with technique as Januzaj bamboozled James Collins before slotting the ball home.

All told he made 27 appearances in the Premier League that season, scoring four goals and making four assists. More telling that season was the level of responsibility Januzaj was given with each passing game – he seemingly took it all in his stride. The Belgian’s performance in United’s 3-1 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge showed off his strength of character when he was effectively handed the sole burden of creativity with both Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney missing.

Such was Januzaj’s rise there were fears that he’d be poached by other clubs as his initial contract was up at the end of the season. Rumour of a £25 million move to Real Madrid surfaced. When the Belgian put pen to paper for a new five-year deal more than a few sighs of relief could be heard as the young prodigy committed his immediate future to the club.


Adnan Januzaj


There were also debates as to whether he could represent England on the international stage – he qualified for up to four international teams before picking Belgium. Januzaj e was even shortlisted for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year. The starlet’s rise was meteoric.

Januzaj’s last meaningful contribution that season was his goal against Newcastle United, capping off a fine team move. The youngster was relegated to the bench the following as United lost 2-0 at Everton. That result spelled the end of Moyes’ tenure, but symbolically it perhaps drew a line under Januzaj’s time at United too.

He would never quite hit those heights again. Maybe too much came too soon and his attitude – if stories are to be believed – was highly questionable. Questions may be asked about how the club allowed him to fail. Only Adnan and those closest to him will fully know how and why his stock has taken such a tumble. Now the 22-year old is the subject of fun and a move to Moyes’ old haunt at Real Sociedad is on the cards.

If Januzaj is to fully realise his potential it won’t be at Old Trafford and there’s a danger that his career will drift aimlessly unless he arrests the slump. It is genuinely sad that such a gifted academy graduate didn’t make the grade because United fans glimpsed, if only for a short period of time, the talent Januzaj holds.

9 comments

Peter JT - June 23, 2017 Reply

He started to fall out of favour when he dived repeatedly

Freeman - June 23, 2017 Reply

I love his movement on the ball, with so much pace. We will miss you… Hope your story will be as that of Paul Pogba

Rudi - June 23, 2017 Reply

He don’t have e hart, not filing patriotic , people like him are not successful,

Tefera Negash - June 23, 2017 Reply

Well said Thariq Amir, yes he showed some glimpse of talent earlier but unfortunately no consistency and if true bad attitude and loss of mental strength are reasons for his failure at United.

I do remember how much excited I was about him and his future at United but again it is all in the past tense.

Denton Davey - June 23, 2017 Reply

” the Belgian seemingly possessed the hallmarks of a classic Manchester United player; skillful, quick and fearless, Januzaj was courageous when his side was at its most timid.”

Sadly, NOT ! He might have had the skill but he was timid and played as if he was listening to too many voices, with too much advice confusing him so that he seemed “stalled”. On the other side of the ball, he was just plain lazy.

Comparing my memories of Adnan Januzaj with Ivan Perisic’s “youtube” collection really highlights what a UTD player should be like – aggressive, fearless, and ambitious. Perisic isn’t really fast – neither is Januzaj – but he makes the most of his talents (and his left foot) whereas Adnan was perpetually disappointing after seeming like such a wonderful talent in his debut.

Getting the reported 9.7 million from Real Sociedad will be like a gift. Hopefully, that money – if it isn’t being used to buy out Adnan’s wages – will be put to better use.

NazManUnited - June 23, 2017 Reply

@LeFalseNumber12 I wish RM bought him four years ago would of robbed the bastards 😂

Bonehead - June 25, 2017 Reply

A real pity he is not going to make it at United. Some of those moments with his early appearances and the Januzaj chant were magical (Stoke especially).

I think there is a major issue with his mental processing which has turned managers off. There is a player in there for sure though. Pity he wasn’t around a few years earlier when Fergie was manager, but you could say that of so many players.

Donovan - June 26, 2017 Reply

Januzag, was picked as a winger, but did not have half the pace of Ryan Giggs, predictable running patterns, and could not cross. As a 10, he was easily pushed of the ball. maybe he could have been an out and out striker, but has not shown that striker’s instinct.

Marco - June 26, 2017 Reply

Sad to see this as I’m sure most of us had high hopes for him after his sparkling debut. But, like many before him, he’s leaving the club without achieving anything like his potential. Players can’t skate by on talent alone: it takes an incredible amount of dedication and application to make it at a club like United and I’m guessing that where he falls short. I wish him well though wherever he goes.

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