It’s been a pretty awful season for Manchester United’s Nani. Despite only missing nine of United’s league games last season, the Portuguese winger has only played in 10 Premier League matches for Sir Alex Ferguson this season, four of which have involved him coming off the bench. With just a handful of appearances in Europe and domestic tournaments to go with, Nani has featured in just 20 matches for the newly crowned Premier League champions in all competitions.
With just 3 goals to his name all season, the former Sporting Lisbon winger has failed to make an impression on his Scottish manager, which has led to questions over his future at the club. With the Sun reporting that Nani could be offered £130,000-a-week by Italian giants Juventus, twice his current paycheque at Old Trafford, Nani could leave United at the end of the season.
The man who was controversially sent off in United’s defeat at home to Real Madrid in the Champions League, Nani has never really fulfilled his potential at the club. Never to reach double figures for league goals in a season, the Portuguese international now finds himself behind Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia in the pecking order at United. But even when he was being played on a regular basis, Nani rarely showed his true ability, and too often seemed to be holding back and not playing 100%.
United fans may well be disappointed to see him leave Old Trafford, but they can’t be too surprised. A fantastic talent, Nani never consistently played to his true potential, leaving supporters disappointed on a number of occasions. After bursting onto the scene with his trickery and pace, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen his somersault celebration. Despite scoring some sensational goals, including the thunderbolt in a 3-0 win over Liverpool in 2008, there were too many disappointing performances in between the impressive displays.
A nice substitute to have, or to rotate with your first team, it’s difficult to argue that Nani deserves a place ahead of either Ashley Young or Antonio Valencia. With Young’s ability to take on defenders mixed with unselfish play, and Valencia’s pace and skill to accurately cross to a teammate to the precise point on a pitch, it’s no surprise the two have played 45 matches combined. With Nani often criticised for being greedy and selfish, Sir Alex is understandably going to pick players who are happier to pass the ball instead.
Despite his potential, which saw Ferguson pay a rumoured €25million for the winger, Nani never looked like becoming a famous player at Old Trafford. Too many disappointing performances look set to have decided Nani’s future for him. With Serie A supposedly a slower league compared to the Premier League, the 26-year-old could become a huge hit at Juventus, utilising his pace and trickery against Italian opposition.
United fans will be more frustrated in Nani’s displays as a player than at the actual sight of seeing their number 17 leave the team. With Valencia, Young and Giggs still at the club, and Wilfred Zaha set to join in the summer, fans will be more excited by the sight of the young Englishman in a red shirt than the idea of losing their Portuguese winger.
[cat_link cat=”manchester-united” type=”grid”]