Few Manchester United players were sad to see David Moyes leave Old Trafford towards the end of last season, but one who might have been is Adnan Januzaj, who was one of the highlights of an otherwise disastrous managerial reign.
Januzaj was handed his senior debut by Moyes, who saw the Belgian starlet flourish under his management. The much-maligned Scot was also the man who convinced Januzaj to commit his long-term future to the Red Devils, despite the fact other big clubs on the continent were desperate to secure his services.
The 19-year-old was expected to develop even more under Louis van Gaal - who decided to hand the teenager United's coveted number 11 shirt, vacated by club legend Ryan Giggs weeks earlier - but to say it's been a difficult second season for the youngster would be an understatement.
Lack of playing time
Januzaj has completed just two 90-minute Premier League matches this season, and has been deployed by Van Gaal for one minute - yes, minute - of the club's previous four league fixtures. Because his confidence is currently shot to pieces, one presumes, the former Anderlecht starlet has failed to register a single goal or assist this term.
It's reached the stage where Januzaj must leave Manchester United in January to get his career back on track. He needs to be playing - anywhere - at this important stage of his career, and Moyes could be just the man to help the Belgium international rediscover his form and confidence.
Moyes a huge Januzaj fan
The former Everton boss, who now manages Real Sociedad, has the utmost belief in Januzaj and could offer him regular first-team football at Anoeta.
It's vitally important that young players have the trust of their manager - and no coach in world football has more belief in Januzaj, who is valued at £40 million, than the man Manchester United unceremoniously sacked back in April.
“Adnan Januzaj is, in my managerial time, the best young talent up there with Wayne Rooney," Moyes told the Telegraph in October. "You can see what he can become. When we had Wayne at Everton you could see the potential.
"Adnan Januzaj has got all that at the same age as Wayne. He’s one of the best young talents in Europe and he will go on to become one of the best players.
"He has incredible skill, a good temperament and with the right degree of arrogance. Wayne was different but in the same way as we saw something special in him at Everton we saw that in Adnan Januzaj. I can only see the boy going right to the top.”
Januzaj hailed by others
It's not just Moyes who believes Januzaj has all the tools to become one of the world's top performers. England coach Gary Neville, who captained Manchester United during his playing days, has repeated his opinion that Januzaj can establish himself alongside the current greats of the game, such is his immense talent.
Meanwhile, current Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher told reporters in January: "For his age, he is up there with some of the best I have seen, without a shadow of a doubt.
"He is a great kid. There is no ego. He wants to learn and listens to advice he is being given. He just wants to go out on the pitch and express himself."
Van Gaal's system
It's clear that Januzaj is not the finished article just yet, but unless he plays every week he will struggle to fulfil his potential.
"[Januzaj is] one of the best young talents in Europe and he will go on to become one of the best players." - David Moyes.
Van Gaal's system makes it difficult to find a space for Januzaj - unlike Ashley Young or Antonio Valencia, he can't play as a wing-back - while competition for the number 10 position is simply too fierce.
Perfect loan move
Januzaj admitted earlier this year that he hopes to become a No. 10 in the future - he sees it as his natural position - and Moyes could give him that opportunity in San Sebastian.
Real Sociedad need Januzaj as much as Januzaj needs Real Soceidad, however. La Real require an injection of quality, and who better to provide it than one of world football's most talented young stars?
Manchester United are doing Januzaj no favours by keeping him on the subs' bench - but a six-month spell away from Old Trafford could be the making of this very unique talent.
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