Manchester United Must Fend off Interest in Adnan Januzaj and Hand Him New Deal

Alex LivieFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11:  Manchester United manager David Moyes looks on as Adnan Januzaj (R) and Shinji Kagawa of Manchester United await their substitution during of the FA Community Shield match between Manchester United and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on August 11, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Adnan Januzaj has long been held in high regard at Manchester United, and since the summer he has started to show exactly why he has been tipped to make it big at Old Trafford.

The teenager was given his first taste of big-game action for United in the Community Shield win over Wigan in August, coming on as a late substitute, while he repeatedly caught the eye during the Red Devils' preseason jaunts to Australia and Asia.

It was this consistent quality that prompted United boss David Moyes to hand Januzaj his Premier League debut against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

He replaced Ashley Young, a player who commanded widespread headlines for the wrong reasons with his diving antics against the Eagles.

The exuberance of youth can often lead to errors of judgment, but Januzaj reeked of maturity during his 23 minutes on the pitch.

He was composed in possession, clever in his distribution and intricate in his movement both on and off the ball.

Januzaj certainly impressed Ian Herbert of the Independent, who mentioned the 18-year-old in the same breath as a certain George Best.

When Manchester United’s transfer window had ended so ignominiously two weeks ago, a message coming down from the highest level of the club was that Adnan Januzaj’s promotion to the first-team squad by David Moyes showed that it was growing in unappreciated ways.

What seemed like a piece of self-justification at the time assumed significance during the 18-year-old’s first Premier League appearance in the 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday—a day for remembering new beginnings, 50 years on exactly from when George Best first pulled on the No. 7 jersey.

All things in perspective, but Januzaj displayed some of the sang froid that Best displayed all those years ago, and demonstrated, just like him, that the slender frame which everyone at Carrington agrees needs filling out should not be an impediment to progress.

As Herbert says, it is too early in his fledgling career to be comparing Januzaj to Best, but it is clear that he is viewed as a future star at Old Trafford.

And that is why speculation in various newspapers on Tuesday could leave United a little uneasy.

John Edwards of the Mail makes the “exclusive” claim that Manchester City are readying a bid for Januzaj.

Januzaj is in the final year of his United contract and Edwards says the youngster wants—as well as a pay hike—assurances that he will be involved in the first team.

Given the promise he has shown, Januzaj is pretty much guaranteed to secure a pay rise.

And if Moyes’ policy, as summer has turned to autumn, is anything to go by, Januzaj will get his chance with the first team. It is then up to the youngster to prove he deserves his place alongside Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Rio Ferdinand.

United fans certainly appear to think he deserves a place in United's first team.

Man Utd had better tie down Adnan Januzaj, we don't want another paul pogba saga

— Chibuzor (@Chibuzz) September 17, 2013

Januzaj has played a mere 29 minutes of competitive action for United, but in those 29 minutes he has done enough to be linked with a move to Manchester City.

And it is that, coupled with the huge promise, that must result in United tying the youngster to a long-term contract.


    Scholes Enjoyed Mourinho’s Remarkable Rant

    Manchester United logo
    Manchester United

    Scholes Enjoyed Mourinho’s Remarkable Rant

    Planet Football
    via Planet Football

    Neymar: 5 Months at PSG Have Felt Like 5 Years

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Neymar: 5 Months at PSG Have Felt Like 5 Years

    Tom Sunderland
    via Bleacher Report

    Klopp Compares Salah to Messi

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Klopp Compares Salah to Messi

    Joe Williams
    via Football365

    'Just Give Salah the Ballon D’Or' — Fans React Mo's Massive Quadruple

    World Football logo
    World Football

    'Just Give Salah the Ballon D’Or' — Fans React Mo's Massive Quadruple

    Ben Twelves
    via This Is Anfield