Luis Nani’s future at Manchester United still uncertain, regardless of rising stock 0


Wilfried Zaha is heading for Old Trafford in the Summer, and that will almost certainly mean that someone in his position at the moment will be left out in the cold.

For the last six months, primarily because of the player’s long-term absence from the first-team, it’s been assumed that Luis Nani would be the one marked for the exit door - the Portuguese’s time at United has been characterised by a lack of economy in possession and a failure to improve his decision-making.

Still, Sir Alex Ferguson disagrees, and he seems intent on keeping the winger:

“He is a consideration and it gives me a headache because Antonio Valencia has been a fantastic player for us and we also have Ashley Young and Ryan Giggs, so our options are fantastic.

That puts us in a strong position.

We have been speaking to Nani’s agent for quite a few weeks now but it is entirely up to the boy himself. I would prefer to keep him until the end of his contract. He wants guaranteed first-team football. Performances like the other night can guarantee that. We are trying our best because he is such a match-winner.”

(Sky Sports)

There’s a complication here, in that a new contract still hasn’t been agreed, and Nani is approaching the last year of his existing deal - so whether Ferguson wants him or not, that might be a situation beyond his control.

The contractual situation between the two parties has arisen because - reportedly - Manchester United and Jorge Mendes, Nani’s agent, have failed to agree on improved financial terms. If this was really about ‘guaranteed first-team football’, then this contract would have been signed while Nani still had a regular place in the team.

Why, given that the player is close to having all the leverage in this negotiation, would it now be easier to get this resolved?

When a player wants, or believes he deserves more money, it’s very rare that he’ll back down from that stance - so if United don’t offer something improved before the Summer, expect to Mendes to do all he can to encourage bids from elsewhere and tempt them into selling before losing the player for nothing twelve months later.

Ferguson is right, in the sense that Nani - at his best - is a match-winner, but historically Manchester United don’t tolerate this kind of behaviour from players for too long and so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he plays his football elsewhere next season.

Someone’s going to be going in the Summer, because this squad doesn’t need to carry Nani, Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia, and Wilfried Zaha - the smart money is still on the Portuguese.

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