When Adnan Januzaj made his full Premier League debut against Sunderland last season he was heralded as one of the brightest starlets on the planet. Fewer than 18 months later and he is facing an uncertain future at Manchester United.
The Belgian whizzkid came off the bench with his Red Devils side trailing 2-1 to Arsenal. He was Louis van Gaal's last throw of the dice, chosen ahead of Radamel Falcao. The pressure was on, and he blew it.
Januzaj stormed past Nacho Monreal in the 87th minute into the Arsenal penalty box and had the chance to feed it into the box. However, he chose to go down after Monreal's arm made contact with his. There was an effort to trick the referee; he even delayed his fall to make sure the phantom foul undoubtedly occurred in the penalty box.
Michael Oliver was brave and booked Januzaj for diving; the fifth booking his has received for simulation in his short career. That, unbelievably is a higher total than the amount of goals he has scored for Manchester United (four).
It sums up how far Januzaj has fallen in the past 12 months. Under David Moyes he regularly looked like Manchester United's most creative player. He was given a huge long-term contract that saw his wages skyrocket; his performances were supposed to follow suit.
But Januzaj has failed to establish himself under Louis van Gaal and looks closer to the exit door than the starting XI. There were suggestions he would leave on loan in January, but he remained at Old Trafford where his reputation has continued to fall.
Last night saw him hit rock-bottom. A fifth booking for simulation just two season's into his career has sealed his reputation as a cheater. Last night's referee would have been well aware of Januzaj's tendency to dive and, luckily for Arsenal–and football for that matter, saw his attempts to steal an equaliser a mile off.
It is up to Van Gaal to eradicate this habit out of his game. It is bringing shame on Manchester United and only harming his own chances of fulfilling his enormous potential.
What do Manchester United fans think of Adnan Januzaj? Is he facing the chop or has he still got what it takes to make it at the top level? Give us your thoughts in the comments box below!
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