Rewind to 5 October 2013 when a growingly disheveled David Moyes was starting to realise just how hard succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson was going to be. Manchester United had taken just seven points from their opening six games and were sitting in the bottom half of the Premier League table.
The situation threatened to turn critical when Craig Gardner gave Sunderland an early lead in what should have been an easy three points for the reigning champions. The Black Cats led going into half-time.
What must have Moyes said to the diminutive 18-year-old during that crucial team talk? Whatever it was, Adnan Januzaj emerged from the tunnel at the Stadium of Light destined to turn the game around and blast his own reputation into the stratosphere.
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He scored two goals, winning the game for Moyes and possibly buying the Scotsman more time than he otherwise would have had. When the final whistle blew on that symbolic fixture, few would have predicted that Januzaj would be donning the red and white shirt of his opponents in under two years time.
But according to the Sunderland Echo, that is exactly what is about to happen with Dick Advocaat in talks with his fellow Dutchman Louis van Gaal over a season-long loan deal for the Belgium international.
The two parties are still some way away from agreeing a deal, but it is believed they have held productive discussions this week over Januzaj. The 20-year-old had previously been linked with a temporary switch to Everton, but it seems Sunderland have stolen a march on the Toffees.
Van Gaal had previously told Januzaj that he had been impressed with his development during pre-season and was ready to give him a chance up front. But he has since decided to pursue a deal for Barcelona star Pedro, leaving Januzaj's role in the squad far from certain.
It is far flung from the young teenager who was being linked with a £40million move to Paris Saint-Germain. Januzaj had looked like Manchester United's best player at times under Moyes, but Van Gaal gave him almost no chance to prove his worth.
Like Angel di Maria before him, Van Gaal's rigid tactics left Januzaj without his preferred role. He was used at wing-back, up front and behind the main striker, but the confusion over where to play him only served to marginalise him more.
Januzaj still has plenty of time to reach his enormous potential, but whether that will happen at Manchester United or not is growingly doubtful.
Does Adnan Januzaj need to leave Old Trafford to reach his potential?
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