Adnan Januzaj has joined German Giants Borussia Dortmund on a season-long loan.
The Belgian leaves United on a temporary basis, despite starting four of United’s six games in August.
This surprise transfer also comes after Januzaj himself dismissed rumours of a move away, with manager Louis van Gaal echoing those thoughts.
However, the decision was made to ship Januzaj out on loan, in order to gain some valuable experience in one of Europe’s top leagues, as well as the Europa League.
Dortmund are used to competing in the Champions League, finishing runners-up to rivals Bayern Munich in 2013, but their poor form last year left them with a Europa League spot, but only after a play-off victory over Norwegian side ODD.
Their group contains Russian side Krasnodar, Greek club PAOK, and surprise package Qabala of Azerbaijan.
This will certainly be a competition Thomas Tuchel will be aiming to win, with his side being one of the strongest contenders.
Tuchel, taking over the reins from fan favourite Jurgen Klopp in the summer, will also have ambitions of a return to the Champions League and winning the Deutscher Pokal, their national cup competition, after losing last year’s final to Wolfsburg, ending any potential fairytale farewell for Klopp.
These competitions will allow Januzaj plenty of game time, in a season where he will turn just 21 in February.
He has time on his side, but will need to impress.
The number 10 role is his favoured position, but he is also capable of playing up front or out wide.
It was out wide that saw his rise to prominence under David Moyes, scoring a brace on his debut away at Sunderland in October 2013, in a comeback win, whilst playing on the left.
This led to a long-term contract being struck, faded off interest from the likes of PSG, whom were allegedly linked with the youngster.
Last season was difficult for Januzaj, featuring in just 18 league games as United’s need for rotation wasn’t necessary due to there being no European football to contend with, and he hadn’t started a game since February 8, before returning to the starting line-up against Aston Villa on August 14, where he scored the only goal of the game.
He also scored against FC Barcelona in pre-season, where he impressed, certainly in the middle, just off the striker.
Januzaj joins a side with a plethora of attacking options, including former Red Shinjia Kagawa, so competition will be fierce, but it is at Old Trafford, and this loan deal will allow him to get his head down and fight for his place, continue his development, and prove he has a future at the top of the game.
We wish him all the best for this season, and hope he returns to United a better player, ready to challenge for a regular starting berth in a year’s time.