The Adnan Januzaj Think Tank

This post is directed at Adnan Januzaj, but anyone is welcome to read it, obviously. The English Football Association has acknowledged the total lack of home grown soccer talents and is hunting down promising foreigners. The whole farce is played out to distract from the fact that the FA is led by a bunch of incompetents. But this post, as I said, is by way of advice for a young soccer prodigy.

Adnan Januzaj

Albanian Television had a completely misguided show on recently where the topic was why Adnan Januzaj should play for Albania. The more rabid Albanian fans called in to call for his decision in this direction. But the whole thing should not be taken too seriously. The farce being played out by English newspapers is a more serious matter. It is not serious for the young soccer player, but the FA will waste hundred of thousands of pounds on trying to make Adnan Januzaj English. It's all a bit ridiculous.

According to rumors, Adnan Januzaj would prefer to play for Kosovo but can't as that country is not yet recognized by FIFA and therefore can't field an official national team. His second choice should obviously be Belgium, the country he grew up in. But there are more reasons for that choice than just the fact of living there. Albanian fans may hope to get him, but they are very forgiving to their countrymen making good in other national teams, and terribly proud of them.

Why Adnan Januzaj should wait several years to play for a national team when he is obviously ready to do so now, is a question no English journalist is able to answer; worse, they haven't even asked it. Belgium is qualified for the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil; this is all the showcase a young soccer player needs to promote his career. Unlike England, Belgium is placed in the top 7 of the FIFA ranking and therefore seeded. Gives you something to think about, I hope.

Adnan Januzaj's story is far from unique. There are several players in his age bracket that can give him helpful hints, and some older ones, too. Switzerland (just to rub it home, also seeded for 2014) has no less than six soccer players of Albanian descent in its national Team. Playing Albania in Tirana under these circumstances might look like risky business. But Albanian fans have come to terms with the fact that their countrymen might play for the country they grew up in and accept it. This open attitude might change for a player playing for the national team that pays the most. 

The Swiss Albanian players were greeted in a friendly fashion; while some rabid fans (there are always some of those in any crowd) might whistle and boo them on the field from time to time, that is as far as it goes (unlike in Turkey where the Swiss team needed special security to keep them safe from Turkish 'fans'). And Switzerland is getting quite used to having Albania fan for its national team in international contests where Albania is not playing at the same time.

If Adnan Januzaj wants to talk to some guys that were in the same situation that he is in now, he might want to contact Xherdan Shaqiri (currently playing for Bayern Munich, ex FC Basel), Granit Xhaka (Borussia Monchengladbach, ex FC Basel), or Valon Behrami (Naples, ex Lazio Roma). All three hail from the Kosovo. There are also Admir Mehmedi (SC Freiburg, ex Zurich), Blerim Dzemaili (Naples, ex Zurich), or Kasami Pajtim (Lucerne, ex Liverpool). They too hail from the Albanian diaspora but from Macedon. I am almost sure that these names have already been handed to him, and I know that the Albanian grapevine will find him phone numbers to dial quickly.

And then there is one person he probably hasn't thought of contacting. But I think he should talk it over with Mladen Petric (West Ham United, ex Grasshoppers Club Zurich). He was offered a place in the Swiss national team in 2001 but decided to play for Croatia (it was rumored that an incentive of several millions was involved in the decision). Switzerland then qualified for the Euro 2004 while Croatia didn't. He was missing out on an important showcase for talent that way and never reached the potential earnings he could have reached.

Further reading
Gareth Bale Soccer Transfer Record
Europa League: Chelsea FC vs FC Basel
Gay Soccer Players

Admir Mehmedi

Blerim Dzemaili and Xherdan Shaqiri

Granit Xhaka

Kasam Pajtim

Mladen Petric

Valon Behrami

Xherdan Shaqiri