Sunderland have ‘not heard a whisper’ from Manchester United regarding Adnan Januzaj’s future, and David Moyes is confident that he is the man to help the Belgian reach his full potential on Wearside.
Januzaj’s agent this week confirmed that talks had taken place with French side Lyon regarding his future, but stressed that he is happy in Sunderland, playing for a manager who ‘believes in him’.
Lyon have since confirmed that fellow Manchester United winger Memphis Depay is their primary transfer target for January, seeing an initial £13million bid turned down.
Lyon could potentially poach Januzaj from Wearside by agreeing a permanent deal with the Red Devils, but Moyes has said he has heard nothing to suggest that will be the case.
There is not thought to be a recall clause in the loan deal, so it is highly unlikely that he could be loaned elsewhere.
For Moyes, it leaves him with much work to do with a player who is improving but still a long way short of his potential. With that in mind, Januzaj’s endeavour in the recent 2-2 draw with Liverpool was a big boost for the manager, the 21-year-old seizing the opportunity to play alongside Jermain Defoe in a two-man strikeforce.
He said: “Adnan is improving. I’m on him everyday.I’m one of his biggest fans because I know what he’s capable of, I still don’t think he’s reached that.
“For him to reach his standards, he needs to really up his game. His energy against Liverpool was a big thing – he gave everybody a lift. He’s more than capable of running and working hard.”
Januzaj gives Sunderland an extra dimension in attack, his technical and dribbling ability unrivalled in the squad. He has begun to make defining contributions in recent weeks and appears to be settling into the club and the scale of the challenge ahead.
Moyes has hailed the creative side of Januzaj’s game and said it is important that he continues to understand that commitment is the primary attribute required in Sunderland’s current plight.
He said: “He’s more than capable of beating people and making key passes. He did against Watford for Jermain, who squared for Patrick to score.
“He’s beginning to become an influence in assist-making. I know he can do that and I know he can score.
“But when you come to Sunderland probably the first thing you need to say is ‘I need to be ready for the scrap, I need to work first of all.’ I’m hard on him because I know what he’s capable of.”