Cologne - Of all the Bundesliga clubs to strengthen their squads on the final day of the summer transfer window, Borussia Dortmund were perhaps the team in least need of reinforcements.
New head coach Thomas Tuchel could not have wished for a better start to life in the Signal Iduna Park hot seat, guiding die Schwarz-Gelben to the top of the Bundesliga table, the second round of the DFB Cup and the group stages of the UEFA Europa League thanks to eight successive victories in all competitions. Nevertheless, Tuchel opted to dip into the transfer market one last time on 31 August, securing the services of one of Europe’s brightest attacking prospects in 20-year-old Belgian international Adnan Januzaj.
The son of Kosovo-Albanian refugees, Januzaj arrives in North Rhine-Westphalia with a point to prove after leaving English Premier League giants Manchester United FC on a season-long loan deal. Described as "a beautifully balanced player" by none other than legendary head coach Sir Alex Ferguson, who promoted the Brussels native to the Red Devils’ first team before his retirement, Januzaj burst onto the scene at Old Trafford under the guidance of Ferguson’s replacement David Moyes, scoring both goals in a 2-1 victory over Sunderland AFC on his full debut for the club.
Januzaj went on to make 38 appearances in all competitions that season, scoring a further three goals and chipping in with eight assists - an impressive return for an 18-year-old youngster competing for a first-team spot with the likes of Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Shinji Kagawa. Under former FC Bayern München head coach Louis van Gaal, however, Januzaj struggled to nail down a regular first-team berth in Manchester, making just 18 league appearances in his second full season in England. Despite scoring the only goal of the game in United’s win over Aston Villa last month, Januzaj was in need of a fresh start - one that Dortmund were only too happy to provide.