With the Premier League kicking off this weekend United are set to start the defence of their crown away to Swansea. David Moyes has yet to add any personnel to the title winning squad, this leaves us wondering what players he is going to bring through to bolster the squad this season.
Two years ago United signed 16-year-old Adnan Januzaj from Anderlecht right under the nose of the interested Barcelona. The Kosovo-born Belgium-under-19’s international has shown great promise in pre-season after a fantastic year with the United Under-21s side that won the Barclays Elite Group final. Januzaj has also won personal accolades as the reserve team Player of the Year 2012/2013 and picking up the ‘Addidas Golden Ball’ – Player of the Tournament in the FIFA youth cup held in Switzerland.
The most telling sign on Januzaj’s progression is that Sir Alex Ferguson named him on the bench in his last ever game for United against West Bromwich Albion. This surely was a message that he should be part of the future of the first team for United. So far this pre-season he has picked up a goal and been one of the best performers in the squad, he capped this off with an assist and Man of the Match performance in Rio Ferdinands testimonial defeat to Sevilla. He has since made his first competitive appearance as a red in the Community Sheild.
With talks of a new contract being tabled to secure the young mans future, we would expect to see him breaking into the first team this year and making appearances against some of the weaker teams. Who knows, if we dont make a CM signing and we pick up injuries then he could become an important first team player.
“We are signing a player of potential. We always feel we develop players well.” – Sir Alex Ferguson. Zaha bears the pressure of being the great mans last ever signing for the club. He comes into a team whos wingers severely underperformed last season. Nani, Valencia and Ashley Young only amassed 14 assists and 5 goals between them. Whilst Zaha managed 8 goals and 10 assists single handedly in the Championship for Crystal Palace. Judging by those stats, and his recent start in the Community shield, its likely that Zaha will feature heavily this season for United.
He has impressed former and current players alike with his confident play. Zaha has shown the ability to take players on with individual skills and find the end product with a couple of assists and a goal in pre-season. “Wilfried can take people on from a standing start. He is quick and direct but what has surprised me more is that he gets his shots off. I have not watched him loads but obviously he is a winger who has a hunger to get inside and drive into the opponents’ box. That is a good thing to have.” – Rio Ferdinand.
In the 2011/12 season Kagawa made 50 starts for club and country scoring 23 goals and making 10 assists in all competitions. In comparison, he only made 20 appearances for United in his first season, scoring 6 goals and making 5 assists. The lack of appearances was mainly down to an Injury hit season which saw the Japanese international miss 2 months of football when he was absent from October until January.
Kagawas ability has never been in doubt, after returning to fitness and getting a run of games he became the first Asian player to score a hat-trick in the Premier League in the 4-0 win over Norwich. He seems to glide around the pitch, finding space to pick up the ball and create chances with his brilliant vision and technique. Along with his footballing talents Kagawa seems to have the mentality needed to success at Old Trafford. He has recently turned down an approach from Jurgen Klopp to return to Dortmund after a frustrating first season. However, Kagawa stated he wants to prove himself at United, much like he did when turning down the iconic number 7 shirt when he first signed.
Kagawa finished the season on a high with a goal and Man of the Match performance in last game against West Bromwich Albion. Of the 54 games United played last season, Rooney, RVP and Kagawa only started together 8 times. United won 6 and drew 2 of those 8. If Kagawa can stay fit then i think he will be a vital cog in David Moyes team ticking over into more silverware this season.