The 2013/14 season is one that will quickly be forgotten by most Manchester United fans. But one reason why it will linger on the minds of the supporters was the emergence of Adnan Januzaj. The Belgian teenager, who came through the ranks was one of the few bright sparks in an otherwise disastrous campaign for the Red Devils.
A change in manager and style of play has meant that Januzaj, who made 35 appearances last season has made just 10 this season. Although only 19, he has already demonstrated his potential and that is the rumours surrounding his departure from the club isn’t good news. Unless it is a loan deal, where the Belgian gets more playing time, there is little point in selling him. Here are three reasons why he shouldn’t be sold.
He is only 19
One of the few good things that David Moyes did during his time at Manchester United was ensuring that key players sign long-term contracts. Adnan Januzaj, who was only 18 at the time, signed a new five-year deal in October 2013, which made him the most expensive teenager in the world. One of the reasons why the club were quick to sign him onto a long-term deal was because they knew the potential the teenager had already displayed.
Although he hasn’t been a regular in the starting XI this season, that is only the result of the injury crisis at the club, which has forced Van Gaal to play with wingbacks and no wingers. The Belgian winger still has plenty of time on his hands, and with Van Gaal, a coach who believes in giving opportunities to youngsters, at the helm, the chances are that he will get enough chances in the coming seasons to firmly establish himself as a first-team regular
Sale will be massively under-priced
With four years still left to run on his contract, selling Januzaj now wouldn’t be a wise move at all. One of the main reasons why is because of the transfer fee he would command. Although Luke Shaw arrived at Old Trafford for £27 million in the summer, it was one of those rare occasions where such a large amount of money changed hands on the sale of a teenager.
One of the reasons why you see so few world class teenagers moving clubs is because the odds are firmly against the selling club. While Januzaj is undeniably talented, the fact that he hasn’t even played 50 games for the club and his age means that the amount that the club receive for him will be meagre compared to what they might get a few years down the line, when he is a first-team regular.
Learn from past mistakes
Although he was one of the club’s most promising young talents, Paul Pogba left for Juventus in the summer of 2012. The Frenchman’s departure at a time when the club were struggling for central midfielders was without a doubt one of the biggest oversights during Sir Alex Ferguson’s glittering career. Pogba, who has now developed into one of the finest central midfielders in the world will now cost the Red Devils somewhere in the region of £60 million should the club decide to buy him back, just two years after letting him go for free.
The case of Januzaj is very similar and the club will do well to learn from their past failings. While Van Gaal’s current formation doesn’t necessitate the presence of a winger, the teenager’s versatility means that he can be used through the middle as well. And although wingers aren’t necessary now, when that changes, once everyone is fit, they will certainly require the services of a 19-year-old who has all the makings of a world-class winger.