David Moyes is aiming to get Adnan Januzaj back to his best at Sunderland – as talks over Yann M’Vila’s return continue.
Sunderland swooped to capture the 21-year-old on a season-long loan from Manchester United, with Januzaj set to make his debut against rivals City today.
The winger burst onto the scene two years ago, on the back of an outstanding performance against Sunderland, but his career has stalled – with former boss Moyes determined to get him back firing.
Januzaj spent time last season on loan at Borussia Dortmund and there was interest this summer from AC Milan and Lazio.
But Sunderland moved quickly to secure Moyes’s fourth signing, after the arrivals of Papy Djilobodji, Donald Love and Paddy McNair.
“I am looking forward to working with him again. A couple of years ago, he was one of the hottest talents in the country,” said Moyes.
“He was setting the Premier League alight, but, for some reason, it has gone wrong for him a little bit the past couple of years.
“I don’t know exactly why that is, but, in the conversation I had with him, I said it can’t all be everybody else’s fault, the coaches or manager’s fault; there has to be a bit of this down to you.
“I want to give him the opportunity to show the Sunderland fans what he can do.
“He has got a level of quality which I want to add to the club and bring here and up the standards as we go and up the competition for places, more importantly.
“I want people who can win games by making or scoring goals – Adnan certainly has that.
“First of all, he has to come in and show me he is going to be a team player and if he does that and we can get somewhere close to the Adnan of two years ago, then we will have a top player here.”
The Belgian international – who only met his team-mates today – is in the squad for the game at Manchester City (5.30pm kick-off) but is expected to start on the bench.
Moyes, meanwhile, is in need of further midfield recruits and talks are ongoing over M’Vila’s return but show no sign of being resolved anytime soon.
The sticking point has been Russian side Rubin Kazan’s determination to bank a hefty fee – around the £5million mark – despite only four and a half months remaining on the Frenchman’s contract.
Sunderland could wait until M’Vila is a free agent in January, while a pre-contract agreement is another option open to the club, which could then help push through a sale.
“There are talks going on,” said Moyes.
“There are some things going on behind the scenes, things moving.
“Obviously he is out of contract in January; as you can imagine it is a wee bit of what is the difference now and what is the difference in January? Bits like that.”
“Midfield is an area we need to address,” he added.
The Echo understands there are also question marks over M’Vila’s fitness levels as a result of his state of limbo this summer.
* Sunderland have confirmed that the EFL Cup second round game against Shrewsbury Town will take place at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday, August 24 (kick-off 7.45pm).
Meanwhile, the home Premier League game against Arsenal on Saturday, October 29 has been selected by Sky Sports for live coverage, with an earlier kick-off of 12.30pm.
Follow Manchester City v Sunderland on our live matchday blog. The build-up starts from 3pm