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How Manchester United starlet saved his career last summer

Adnan Januzaj (low qual)

Adnan Januzaj’s decision to remain at Manchester United last summer is the best he could have made.

The 2013-14 season has been a breakthrough campaign for Adnan Januzaj. The 19-year-old winger has been one of the few bright sparks for Manchester United in what has been a disastrous year for the club.

The teenager, who recently decided to represent Belgium at international level, has scored four goals and has provided three assists in 26 Premier League matches. He has also made two Champions League appearances and has featured four times in the League Cup.

More than the stats, it is his raw quality that has been so brilliant to watch. A tricky winger, Januzaj has shown that he has the skills, the ability and the maturity to play for one of the world’s biggest clubs.

Januzaj is still not the finished article and is learning with the passing of each and every day. At United, even under a new manager, he has the perfect environment to nurture his talent. And this is why he did well to snub the approaches of Paris Saint-Germain last summer.

According to the Brussels-born starlet’s agent Dirk De Vries, Januzaj was offered big bucks to join the French giants. He was out of contract with United last summer, and PSG thought that it would be a good chance for them to swoop in and recruit one of the most promising teenagers in Europe.

However, the Ligue 1 champions’ offer was rejected and Januzaj signed a new five-year contract that is reportedly worth £50,000 a week.

‘Minutes before Adnan signed a new deal at Manchester United, PSG offered us an astonishing deal’, De Vries told Sport/Voetbalmagazine. ‘As Adnan was a free agent at the end of the season, the Qataris were ready to offer anything. It could have been interesting from a commercial point of view. But money has never been a deciding factor in his choice’.

By rejecting the advances of PSG, Januzaj rescued his career and has now given himself a much better chance of being successful in the future. At PSG, his development would have been affected by the competition he would have had to face. The French giants do not lack quality in any department, and the teenager would have been just another player to warm the bench and add depth to the squad.

The likes of Marquinhos, Lucas Moura, Marco Verratti and Lucas Digne are all talented youngsters in the PSG squad, but not all of them get to play regularly. At United, Januzaj has not played week in week out this campaign, but he has got a foot in the door. Next season he will have to impress the new man in charge at Old Trafford, but he is young and will get his chance.

Januzaj may not play regularly again in 2014-15, but he can rest assured that his talent and progress will be taken care of. Moreover, he will be playing in a much tougher league and this is only going to help him learn more and develop.

At PSG, they would have wanted success rightaway and, given that the French first division is a step lower than the Premier League, he wouldn’t have been faced as fierce a competition as he would confront in England. As a young player, Januzaj is bound to make mistakes – maybe even costly ones – and at PSG this wouldn’t have been tolerated. One mistake and he would have gone to the bench – that’s how fierce the competition is in Paris.

Januzaj made a great decision last year in staying in Manchester and continuing his progress with United. When he eventually establishes himself as a world-class footballer, he will look back on that choice and will acknowledge it as the best he made as a teenager.

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