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Barca and United set to lock horns in the transfer market

SUNDERLAND V MANCHESTER UNITED BARCLAYS PREMIERSHIPYesterday Adnan Januzaj seemed poised to sign a new contract with Manchester United, today the Belgian appears to be on Barcelona’s radar, as his stock continues to rise, much to the delight of his agent.

Barcelona have monitored the 18-year-old since he was still at Anderlecht, the club from which he joined United in 2011, and appear convinced that Januzaj will swap Old Trafford for the Nou Camp when his contract runs out at the end of the season, or so claim some of today’s backpages.

Januzaj has claimed to be happy at United and David Moyes’ decision to involve the young Belgian in the first team frame would undoubtedly pleased Januzaj, whose contract talks stalled last May as the youngster demanded assurances regarding his chances of securing a place in the first team this season.

The Daily Mail, always a reliable source of information, claims that the Belgian felt “unappreciated” by United at times, even though no direct quote is reported, while Januzaj’s agent, Dirk de Vriese claimed last week: “I’m not going to say which teams are interested in him, but I can tell you that there is interest from several European clubs.”

De Vriese’s strategy appears to be the classic “cat-and-mouse” routine agents set up to earn their client – and themselves – a better financial deal, as agents know that simply by throwing around the names of a few clubs they can force the player’s current club to cough up more money.

David Moyes is reported to be ready to offer the Belgian a four-year deal worth £50,000-a-week, while Januzaj’s promotion into the first team should quell the youngster’s doubts about his involvement, but United must be very careful in the way they handle this situation, for while they want to avoid a repeat of the fiasco that led Paul Pogba to Juventus, they do not want to be seen as weak by Januzaj’s camp.

Earlier last week, David Moyes claimed that Januzaj was surrounded by “some influences around him”, which could play a big part in the Belgian’s decision to sign a new contract or to move elsewhere.

Anderlecht’s head of development Jean Kindermans, the man who unearthed Januzaj in Belgium, seems to agree with David Moyes and claimed that the Belgian’s father will have a massive influence on whether his son remains at United as well as which country he will represent.

Januzaj is eligible for six different countries, but has already turned down the chance to play for Belgium, after Marc Wilmots included him in the squad that will face Croatia on Friday.

“At the moment, international football isn’t something I’ve thought a lot about. I know that first I have to concentrate on what I do for United because that is the most important part of my career now,” said Januzaj.

Wilmots said he respects the United youngster’s decision: “This was the first time I have tried to include him  because I wanted to send him a clear message. I respect his stance. Every player has the right to make a choice and I will not make an ultimatum.

“You cannot force a player to choose. It has to come from his heart.”

United have got themselves a talent and, by the looks of it, have also got themselves into a transfer soap opera.