One of the biggest mistakes Manchester United made in the transfer market of late was allowing Paul Pogba an exit out of Old Trafford, to Juventus in 2012, where he has since flourished and developed into one of the planet's hottest midfield prospects.
In 19 Serie A matches thus far this season, Pogba - a physically-strong technically-proficient midfielder replicating the role of Manchester City's Yaya Toure at Turin - has returned five goals and five assists, while also registering three assists in the Champions League.
For former Juventus playmaker Zinedine Zidane, what has been Juventus' gain was ultimately United's loss: 'The word ‘mistake’ is not something you would normally associate with Alex Ferguson’s time at Manchester United,' he said as quoted by the Sunday Mirror.
'But I do think it was a mistake letting Paul Pogba leave. He will go on to be one of the best central midfield players in Europe and he was the natural successor to Paul Scholes, someone they could have built the team around.'
Indeed, the inability to successfully replace Scholes - a prolific chance creator - has hurt United and their ability to maintain their unrivalled dominance of English football for a two-decade era.
Linked with Ander Herrera, Francesc Fabregas and Koke Resurreccion last summer and for part of the current mid-season market, the club have been grooming an academy graduate into the string-pulling position. A phenom who has close control and a technique that belies his teenage years and inexperience at senior level.
Januzaj has the playground-enthusiasm for the football that comes with a player desperate to perform and he even prompted Darren Fletcher to laud him as a 'revelation' post-match.
Commenting on his talent and when he first noticed it, manager David Moyes said, as quoted by the Daily Mail: 'Somebody had said to me have you seen the young boy in the reserves and I knew a little bit about him because his name had been mentioned to me, but I didn’t know enough about him.
'The minute we got him away with us in pre-season we knew right away there was something there. He can play off the left, he can play off the right, he’s a number ten and he’s played centre-forward.
'He is definitely in Wayne Rooney territory because of the ability he has got as a footballer. He is slightly different. He has that little bit of arrogance all the top players have in their own way. They want to do something special.'
Thankfully, Januzaj is in no danger of leaving on a Bosman basis, like Pogba did two summers prior. But have United already found their heir-apparent to the visionary that was Scholes? If so, it should be Moyes that gets the credit for overseeing the player's transition from academy talent to senior star…
image: © Magnus D