Out of favour Manchester United youngster Adnan Januzaj is reportedly a target for Serie A club Inter Milan.
Adnan Januzaj joined Manchester United from boyhood club Anderlecht in March 2011 at the age of 16 after impressing the scouts in a skills session in Brussels. He dazzled in the 2012-13 season for the club’s U21 team and was deservedly named the 2013 Denzil Haroun Reserve Team Player of the Year.
The Belgian made his senior debut for Manchester United in the 2013 Community Shield against Wigan Athletic, coming on for Robin van Persie for the last six minutes of the match. Januzaj then made his Premier League debut a month later in a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace. The youngster enjoyed a breakout debut season under Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor, David Moyes, scoring 4 goals and recording 3 assists in 27 appearances for the club.
The youngster established himself as one of the brightest young talents in the Premier League and featured regularly in his first senior season at Old Trafford. Moyes was later sacked at the end of the season and Januzaj’s development was regarded as one of the only positive outcomes of the Scot’s reign.
The Belgian struggled to make an impact under Louis van Gaal, being restricted to just 23 appearances over two seasons at the club and failing to replicate his debut-season form. He was loaned out to Borussia Dortmund at the start of 2015-16 season, where he failed to start a single game, making only 6 Bundesliga appearances with the club and recording just a single assist. His loan was cut short in January as Dortmund sent him back to Manchester, citing the player’s lack of intent to play for the Bundesliga runners up.
Januzaj was frozen out of the first-team starting lineup by Louis van Gaal and was reportedly set for showdown talks with new manager Jose Mourinho to clear the air about his future at Manchester United.
Italian publication calciomercato have reported that Inter Milan have set their sights on the winger after reportedly failing in their bid to sign Joao Mario and Lazio’s Antonio Candreva. The report states that the Serie A club is interested in taking the Belgian on a season-long with a clause to buy the youngster permanently for a fee close to £5.8m during the loan.
Januzaj still has two years left on his United contract that runs till 2018 and would be hoping to convince Mourinho of his quality during pre-season. The task will be made more difficult with the arrivals of Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Borussia Dortmund and Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a free transfer from PSG, along with the emergence of fellow academy graduate Jesse Lingard in the first-team setup under Van Gaal.
Januzaj is excellent on the ball with his pace and dribbling ability, which is exactly what Jose Mourinho likes in a winger. The Belgian also has some visible strengths in his ability to provide defence-splitting passes to his teammates along with the vision to find the right man in the box with his crosses. The winger, though, has sometimes been accused of going down too easily and also doesn’t seem to be particularly strong in the air.
However, his main weaknesses lie in his lack of discipline and defensive contributions — two aspects Jose Mourinho demands from very player in the squad. The Belgian wonderkid has what it takes to make his mark in the first team and at 21, has age on his side. Manchester United fans will be hoping Januzaj is able to reignite his career under Mourinho in the coming weeks.