New Balance muscled into European football looking to disrupt the market with a fresh squad of players representing the brand and a boot collection designed to challenge the usual suspects. The return of the Premier League has seen a wider on-pitch presence for the brand but Adnan Januzaj is so far refusing to play ball.
The Manchester United winger was installed as the face of the Furon silo upon launch but scored his first goal of the season at Aston Villa wearing a blacked out Nike Mercurial Vapor X before switching into the adidas X 15.1 in the Champions League Qualifier against Club Brugge last night, again hiding any branding. Initial conclusions would suggest Januzaj is having teething problems with his New Balance footwear but it'll be a concern for a brand who have backed the player with a huge marketing campaign not to mention sponsorship.
So far this season there has been a strong uptake of the Visaro silo thanks to early on-pitch coverage from Aaron Ramsey, Vincent Kompany and Samir Nasri to name just a few but doubts around the Furon silo have began to emerge due to Januzaj's omission and Alvaro Negredo's resistance in lacing up in the launch colourway. The likelihood is that the Januzaj is awaiting a bespoke fitting edition of the Furon and normal service will be resumed once he's found his customised fit but New Balance have already missed out on a winning goal and will be anxious to get their man branded up whilst his run in the team continues.
If that is the case then it was no surprise to see Januzaj revert to the Mercurial Vapor X, a boot that he wore when he was on Nike's books but the fact he was flirting with the adidas X 15.1 may suggest he hasn't entirely made up his mind on where his future may be. Options may still be open for the Belgian but leaving New Balance so early into his contract would be a huge blow for the brand who are eager to have a successful break-through season.
Bagged yourself a pair of New Balance boots? What's your verdict?