Adnan Januzaj is back. The 22-year-old winger is shining at Real Sociedad after a tough start to his Spanish adventure.
Though his two last campaigns at Borussia Dortmund and Sunderland were disappointing, fans at the San Sebastian have put all their hopes in the Kosovo-born player when they paid €11m in the summer.
When David Moyes was the manager of the 'Blanquiazules', they desperately tried sign him. But it was not until last July when they managed to attract their new star. Januzaj started slowly, failing to have an impact in August or September.
When he was beginning to understand manager Eusebio Sacristan's tactics, he suffered a knee injury and he missed the 4-4 draw with Real Betis. But now, he is on fire. He has provided two assists in the last two games against Espanyol and Getafe and he is starting to replace Carlos Vela - who will leave the club in January in order to play for Los Ángeles in Major League Soccer - as the idol of Sociedad fans.
The nutmeg against Espanyol which led to the superb assist for Asier Illarramendi, to net the equaliser was a particular stand-out moment. On Sunday [29 October], against Getafe, Januzaj provided another magical assist for Mikel Oyarzabal inside the first five minutes.
Januzaj was among those withdrawn in the second half with Eusebio having one eye on the Europa League. And in the Belgium international's absence - as Sociedad started to lose control of the game - Getafe completed a late comeback to prevail 2-1.
Though they are ninth after 10 La Liga games, Sociedad are the third most prolific club in the league, having scored 21 goals. Good news for Januzaj, as the style displayed by his team mates enhances his skills. "For me, playing football means enjoying," he said recently. "My dream since I was a kid was to be a football player and become the best of the world and I still think the same way."
This month marks nearly four years since Januzaj announced himself on his full debut with two goals for Manchester United against Sunderland. He has not started speaking Spanish with the press yet. However, language is no barrier on the field with many of his team mates speaking fluent English and some others, like Kevin Rodriguez - his best friend in the dressing room - or David Zurutuza fluent in French.
After Januzaj's recent displays, many Basque fans believe they are witnessing the coming of a new era and a belated replacement for Antoine Griezmann, three years on from the France striker leaving a gaping hole in the club's attack.
"Real Sociedad wanted to sign me over a long period of time, but I was playing for Manchester United. It has been a tough time, especially under Louis Van Gaal's tenure. Now, I want to prove them wrong", said Januzaj to Mundo Deportivo local newspaper.
If Januzaj continues his good form, he might fulfil his dream. In the interview with Mundo Deportivo, the forward confirmed that "Jose Mourinho has opened the door for a future return and I respect him for that". United have a buyback clause that allows them to re-sign Januzaj – who moved to Spain for £9.8m - in the next three years for an undisclosed fee.
He will need to provide more and more assists to catch Mourinho's attention and he will need to improve his record in front of goal, having scored just once since 2015. "I will dedicate my first one at Real Sociedad to Louis van Gaal," he said recently. Desire for revenge might be helping him at just the right time. He is still 22 and he is showing again that he is more than just a talented young kid.