The turnover of players at Manchester United since Dutchman Louis van Gaal became manager has been huge. Not only has he spent over £250 million but he’s also allowed high-profile stars like Angel di Maria and Robin van Persie to leave the club.
After giving Adnan Januzaj some game time at the very beginning of this season, Van Gaal agreed to the Belgian moving to German club Borussia Dortmund on a season-long loan.
However in the 3-0 loss to Arsenal before the international break, youngster James Wilson, Marouane Fellaini and even skipper Wayne Rooney appeared on the left-hand side of midfield.
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With that said, was Van Gaal right to loan out the 20-year-old winger - or should Januzaj have stayed at Old Trafford?
Januzaj burst onto the scene as a teenager and produced some fantastic performances for United during their otherwise dismal 2013-14 campaign under David Moyes.
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He’s a very exciting player who gets the fans on the edge of their seat and his technical skill, quick feet, ability to beat a man and creativity make him an immense talent.
Januzaj’s best performances in a United shirt have come as a winger; however, he prefers to play as a No. 10 - and it’s in that role that he became the first United player to score in this season’s Premier League with the winner at Villa Park.
In a charity match against St Pauli, Januzaj scored just 18 minutes into his Dortmund debut but has since struggled to make an impact in Germany and has been limited to just a handful of Bundesliga and Europa League appearances.
Summer signing Memphis Depay is currently United’s star wide man but, at 21 years of age, the Dutch forward is struggling to add consistency to his unquestionable talent. Juan Mata has done an exceptional job in terms of goals and assists from right midfield but everyone knows that the Spaniard is a natural No. 10 - not a winger.
Ecuadorian Antonio Valencia still plays as a right-winger for his country, but Van Gaal seems to view him as an understudy to Italian full-back Matteo Darmian.
Englishman Ashley Young is another experienced winger who Van Gaal has fielded in the full-back positions. Young can provide width to United’s attacks when he plays out wide in addition to great crosses and at his best he is very difficult to handle.
Teenage sensation Anthony Martial has been described as a striker who likes to drift into wide positions, similar to Thierry Henry. However, he is only a teenager and hence needs an extended run in the side as a central striker to prove himself and so far the signs have been good.
There’s evidence to suggest that Van Gaal shouldn’t have let Januzaj leave the club this season because United desperately seem to be lacking options in the wide areas. On the other hand, I agree with the idea of loaning him out in order to guarantee him some regular first-team football and continue his development as a footballer.
That said, Januzaj will probably face even more competition for places at Dortmund this season than he would have at Manchester United. Players such as Marco Reus, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Shinji Kagawa and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are all world-renowned and more than capable of playing anywhere across the forward line.
Like fellow United youngster Andreas Pereira, the fans are very patient with Januzaj seeing as he’s come up through the ranks at Old Trafford and they know how good he can be. In his short career to date, Januzaj has already proved that he is good enough to play regularly for Man United and at the age of just 20 he’s only going to get better.
I believe that Januzaj deserved the chance to stay at United and fight for his first-team place, but only time will tell if Van Gaal made the right choice.
It’s now up to Januzaj to produce some eye-catching performances in Germany, try to establish himself in the Dortmund first team and prove that Van Gaal was wrong to let him go.
Performing well at Dortmund is the key for Januzaj to relaunch his Manchester United career.
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