In news that will surprise nobody, given the club’s ever-growing reputation for handling contracts issues with the same composure and efficiency of a man desperately needing the toilet while stuck underground on the Tube, Manchester United face losing Adnan Januzaj to Manchester City.
The Belgian was the latest academy product to make the step up to first team when he made his debut against Crystal Palace on Saturday, as he enjoyed an impressive 30-minute cameo after replacing Ashley Young.
The 18-year-old performance would not have come as a surprise to those who have followed Januzaj’s progress through the youth teams, but it certainly proved to the rest of the Premier League that the Belgian has all it takes to become a real asset at this level which, ironically, has put United in a difficult position.
Januzaj and United have been locked in contract talks since last April, but the Belgian has so far refused the deal offered by the club as he’s thought to be seeking better financial terms as well as reassurances from David Moyes regarding his first team role, who included the youngster on United’s Australasian tour this summer.
However, with Januzaj’s deal set to expire at the end of the season, United are in danger to lose the starlet for nothing next summer, with the Daily Mail reporting that Manchester City “have been alerted to the stand-off and are ready to launch a raid that would infuriate Old Trafford and overshadow even the furore over United’s failings in the summer transfer window”, which, in truth, sounds like a hard task.
In some ways, Januzaj’s situation resembles that of Paul Pogba, the young Frenchman who left United two summers ago after the club failed to meet his financial request and is now a regular for Serie A champions Juventus.
United are desperate to avoid a repeat of the impasse that surrounded Pogba, but are aware that Januzaj finds himself in a strong bargaining position, having showed he’s clearly more than good enough to command a spot in the first team and until his puts pen to paper on a new deal, his performances are likely to attract a host of potential suitors.
David Moyes, however, is confident that Januzaj, who earlier this summer made he clear he hoped to remain at the club this season rather than being sent out on loan, will remain at the club and has hinted that an offer for an improved five-year deal is already on the table.
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