When Louis Van Gaal took over as manager of Manchester United, he soon weeded out the players he no longer felt were needed at the club, or who would not fit into his plans. Part of this big clear out was Luis Nani, the 28 year old Portuguese winger. Nani was included as part of a deal with Sporting Lisbon to sign Marcos Rojo – a player who has thrived at Manchester United. Nani himself is certainly on form himself on loan, but should Louis van Gaal consider keeping the player when his loan is finished at the end of the season?
As with many last season under David Moyes, Nani did not have a successful campaign. Despite signing a contract extension, he just could not find his form under the new manager. In Manchester United’s 2-0 away defeat to Everton, it was increasingly obvious that Nani was struggling – it was, arguably, his poorest performance of the season.
A loan move to Sporting Lisbon appears to have rejuvenated Nani, who looks like a new player back in Portugal. He has already bagged himself nine goals this season, in both the Portuguese league Primeira Liga, and the Champions League. Clearly being left out of Louis Van Gaal’s plans have not affected Nani and he is showing his former side what he is missing.
Should Man United consider bringing him back at the end of the loan? There are a few things that stand in Nani’s way. Firstly, his shirt number has been taken. Dutchman Daley Blind is now the number 17 at Manchester United, a player who features heavily in Louis Van Gaal’s starting line ups. Blind’s first season in England has been formidable itself, despite a short absence through an injury picked up whilst on international duty for the Netherlands.
If Nani is going to be played on the left – which he has done before – he will have to make it ahead of the Premier League’s most expensive player. This will prove difficult for him, as Louis Van Gaal clearly rates Angel di Maria highly and starts him more often than not.
Louis Van Gaal is seeking to add to his midfield, and if he plans on playing Nani elsewhere, this could work for both parties. But, considering the performances Nani had put in prior to going on loan, it doesn’t seem like a likely move. Although Nani has mentioned the fact he would like to return to Manchester United when his loan finishes, do not be surprised if he is sold in the summer. Nani has said that he has had no contact from Louis Van Gaal, and little contact from his Manchester United colleagues. It looks like the end of the road for him at Old Trafford.