When Adnan Januzaj burst onto the scene in 2013 with a magnificent volley against Sunderland, he was seen as the future of the club, and the Premier League. Three years later, the Belgian is returning to Old Trafford six months early from a loan spell at Borussia Dortmund after failing to impress at the German side. This final half of the season could be a defining period for the youngster.
In the second half of the 2013/14 Premier League season, Januzaj played an integral role in David Moyes’ Manchester United side. During the course of the campaign, the Belgian appeared 27 times in the league, 15 of which came from the start. For a then 19-year-old, he showed tremendous talent and appeared to be a man who could be a crucial player for the Red Devils over a number of seasons.
This all changed however with the sacking of Moyes. Louis van Gaal’s move to Manchester saw Januzaj fall out the first team picture. The Dutchman didn’t trust the winger to play a major part in the side, and he often found himself even out of the side.
This lack of trust continued into this season, as even after scoring the winner against Aston Villa in the opening weeks of the season, van Gaal was willing to let the youngster go out on loan. This came as an immense shock to many seeing as United were failing to find the net on a consistent basis.
A move to Germany and Borussia Dortmund looked like a great move for Januzaj, who would be playing for a side who always play fast, attacking football. This should have been the sort of style that suited the young winger.
However he barely got a look in. Thomas Tuchel would mostly favour Marco Reus and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang in the attacking positions. It turned out to be very much a wasted six months in Januzaj’s career.
He returns to Old Trafford with a point to prove. He clearly wasn’t wanted much at Borussia Dortmund, and judging by the treatment he received from van Gaal, he isn’t that welcome in Manchester. This could all change now though. With United still struggling for goals, Januzaj may be given an opportunity to show he is good enough to be a top Premier League player.
This is a vital point in Januzaj’s career. If he performs, he could become an established player with United. If he doesn’t, he could find himself out the door.