Manchester United are planning to convert versatile winger Adnan Januzaj into a centre-forward and have no intention of allowing the Belgium international to leave Old Trafford this summer.
Reports this week suggested United were set to loan Januzaj to Everton for the 2015-16 campaign, but the Daily Mail understand Louis van Gaal wants to keep Manchester United’s No. 11 at the club for the forthcoming season instead.
With Radamel Falcao and Javier Hernandez both set to leave United this summer, Van Gaal needs another centre-forward to provide back-up for Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, regardless of whether or not 19-year-old James Wilson spends next season out on loan.
Januzaj could be the man to fill the void left by Falcao and Hernandez, with coaches at Old Trafford convinced the technically-gifted 20-year-old has a future playing centrally, rather than out on the wing.
The former Anderlecht starlet, who arrived at Manchester United in 2011, has been deployed in a central position on a couple of occasions since making his first-team debut last season - but the majority of his performances have come from wide areas.
Frustrating season for Januzaj
It’s been a frustrating second season as a professional for Januzaj, who has only made seven Premier League starts under Van Gaal.
Much was expected of Januzaj following an impressive debut campaign at Old Trafford, particularly after he was handed the club’s iconic No. 11 shirt vacated by Ryan Giggs, but he has failed to convince Van Gaal on either the left or right flanks.
Despite his lack of playing time this term, it’s understood Van Gaal still has huge faith in the Belgian and is keen to test him in a forward role, potentially as early as pre-season.
United are set to face Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Club America and San Jose Earthquakes this summer and there’s a good chance that Januzaj will be handed opportunities to showcase his credentials as a forward in those matches.
Moyes saw Januzaj's potential as a forward
David Moyes, the coach who handed Januzaj his senior debut last season, stated last year that the youngster had the potential to play as a centre-forward.
“He [Januzaj] has the ability to go past people, inside or outside,” the Scottish manager, now in charge of Real Sociedad, commented. “He has quality on the ball and enough arrogance to show it.
“Adnan can become a top player. There’s a composure about him, he could be a wide player or even a centre-forward. He’s got the lot.”
Januzaj, meanwhile, recently told Manchester United’s official website that he prefers either playing at No. 10 or on the wing.
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