Sunderland’s pursuit of Manchester United ace Adnan Januzaj looks set to go down to the wire.
The Black Cats have been in talks over a season-long loan for the Belgian creative midfielder - as revealed by The Echo - but his departure from Old Trafford depends on whether the Red Devils can capture the £20m signing of Barcelona star Pedro.
If Januzaj is allowed to leave on loan and Sunderland and Manchester United can strike a deal, the other stumbling block will be over whether he fancies a move to the North East.
So, here are six reasons why we think the 20-year-old should head to the Stadium of Light this summer.
1) More game time:
Last season at Old Trafford under Louis van Gaal, Januzaj started just seven Premier League games for United.
That was despite making a huge impression in his breakthrough season under David Moyes 12-months earlier - including a pretty special double against Sunderland.
Despite van Gaal indicating he has been impressed by the Belgian’s pre-season form, he is willing to let him leave on loan if Pedro can be recruited.
One thing is for sure, Januzaj would be guaranteed a game at Sunderland and would be a focal point of Dick Advocaat’s side.
2) Dick Advocaat:
Speaking of the Dutchman, van Gaal and Advocaat have known each other for decades and their friendship could be key in terms of where Januzaj ends up, is he is allowed to leave on loan.
Adding creative flair to his forward line has been a priority of the Sunderland boss all summer and Jan the Man would certainly fit the bill, provided he can regain the form shown in his breakthrough season.
Advocaat would certainly be a safe pair of hands in terms of helping develop the youngster and Januzaj will be aware of Advocaat from his time in charge of Belgium.
3) Manchester United stars have benefitted from loan stints at Sunderland:
There are long and established links between Sunderland and Manchester United, with Danny Welbeck and Jonny Evans both enjoying successful loan spells at the Stadium of Light.
Meanwhile, the likes of Phil Bardsley, John O’Shea and Wes Brown have all moved from the North West to the North East.
Sunderland boast a successful record in developing youngsters from the Premier League’s heavyweights during loan spells, with both Evans and Welbeck speaking highly of their time at Sunderland.
England international Welbeck, who has since moved to Arsenal, made 28 appearances, scoring six goals, for the Black Cats in the 2010-11 season
“I really enjoyed my time at Sunderland,” Welbeck reflected.
Meanwhile, Evans, a Northern Ireland international had two loan spells at Sunderland, his first in 2006-07 which he enjoyed so much he came back for another spell in 2008.
4) Chance to revive his career:
Since breaking through at Old Trafford, Januzaj’s career has stalled. A loan move to Sunderland would help revive it.
He would be the main man, everything would go through him and the added responsibility could bring the best out of him.
There is no doubt he is talented, a move to the Stadium of Light could help him get his career back on track.
5) The 2016 European Championships in France are just around the corner:
The Belgian has represented his country on five occasions and if he wants to represent them next summer in the 2016 European Championships then he will have to be playing regular first team football.
Step forward Sunderland!
There will, of course, be other sides courting his services but being a big fish in a slightly smaller pond will give him far more exposure.
6) There isn’t as much rain....
Manchester is famous for its rain, Sunderland not so much.
Clutching at straws? Perhaps, but after the opening day hammering away to Leicester City, Advocaat needs all the help he can get.