Tony Gillan: How did Man United get £10m for Adnan Januzaj? I wouldn’t pay a round of drinks for him

Adnan Januzaj
Adnan Januzaj
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Ever keen to discover what the BBC can be blamed for, I occasionally peruse the Daily Mail and its Sunday sister paper; the voice of reason.

Yesterday, football columnist and son of Emily Bishop, Oliver Holt, had his say on Manchester City’s signing of Kyle Walker from Tottenham.

The fee could be as high as £54m, depending on what you read, making him the most expensive defender on Earth.

Holt, actually a decent writer, spoke for the many when he wrote: “That was the moment we all knew the Premier League had lost its mind.”

This is debatable.

Similar was said when Gareth Southgate moved to Aston Villa for £2.5m in 1995; or when Trevor Francis became Britain’s first £1m player in 1979 (doubling the previous record).

Go back as far as you like. In 1893 there were shrill cries of “the game’s gone mad” when Willie Groves’ move from West Brom to Villa made him the world’s first £100 player.

He shattered the previous record set by South Shields when they paid a round of drinks and a sheet of Green Shield stamps to Spennymoor for the tough-tackling wing-half Horace Ketchup.

There is nothing new under the sun. You will struggle to find anyone outside Manchester City’s boardroom who concludes that Walker, a good but not brilliant full-back who offers little going forward, is worth more than a fraction of what they agreed.

However, City make such purchases with the same deliberation that the rest of us apply when buying a cut loaf. The recent transfer that really illuminates how bonkers the football economy has become was another, lower profile deal.

Sunderland supporters have even more to fret about than usual.

So imagine hearing the news that the club had attempted to assuage matters by securing the services of the evanescent Adnan Januzaj on a permanent deal for £10m. Most fans would cry themselves to sleep.

Yet that’s what Real Sociedad, not a notably wealthy club, have done.

Januzaj would easily make Sunderland’s All-Time Uninterested/Twisty-Faced XI; despite rivalry for his place.

Stories of José Mourinho crossing off the days on his Little Mix calendar until Adnan returned to Old Trafford are apparently untrue.

Even David Moyes, who with only had 11 available players would still have struggled to select his best team, saw through him.


Adnan is remembered with parallel fondness at Borussia Dortmund where he played with equal distinction during his 2015-16 loan, failing to start a single league match.

But Real couldn’t wait to land him; off to the Basque Country for a frankly astonishing fee.

Perhaps Danny Graham was a bargain after all, because I wouldn’t give you a round of drinks and a sheet of Green Shield stamps to land Adnan Januzaj.

Ten million quid for him. THAT’S when you know that football – and not just the Premier League – has “lost its mind.”

Has the three-nillery against the almighty St Johnstone made you look forward to the new season any less? I doubt it.

Proper fans always keenly anticipate a new season; however misguidedly. While Saturday’s show was unacceptable, few pre-season friendlies are particularly relevant to the real thing.

Then look at what was allegedly a great sporting weekend.

Roger Federer won his 47th Wimbledon or something. The car racing lived up to expectations by being as tedious as every other car race (or “Formula One” as the “sport” preposterously refers to itself).

Then there was Floyd Mayweather and some other bloke; slugging it out to see who can be named as the Undisputed World’s Biggest Berk.

God I miss football – even with all its attendant horribleness.