Losing Luis isn’t the end of the world for Manchester United, but rather a new beginning.
Luis Nani has spent 5 years hugging the sideline and cutting inside to prove himself at Old Trafford, and boy can he do it well, but he hasn’t lived up to the potential everyone knows he has. Because of this, he looks like a player who has outgrown his Manchester United shirt and would suit a new challenge.
The Portuguese winger has been holding out for an unreasonable 40,000 pay rise which the club and he haven’t seen eye-to-eye about. United’s reaction has put the player’s disillusionment about his own ability and his role at the club out on public display.
Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia have shown they can play leading roles on the Manchester United wings. Nani didn’t even make the team-sheet against Fulham and his absence was barely noticeable as Alex Ferguson fielded a strong attacking bench. Meanwhile, wing backs Patrice Evra and Rafael stole the show with probing runs into the attacking third.
When Nani had a chance to prove himself against Everton on the first game of the season, he failed to deliver a good performance. Instead, he was yellow carded and substituted. The memory of last season’s final day drama, when Manchester City pipped their town rivals to the championship by a hairpin, is a reminder that individual performances matter a lot.
Nani scored 8 goals and made 10 assists from 25 starting appearances in the 2011/12 season, but he is plagued by inconsistency.
Tottenham Hotspur and Zenit St Petersburg have been linked with the 25-year-old and Manchester United will demand 20m + for his services. It’s a good deal all round. It will be advantageous to give Valencia and Young extended runs in the team, especially with the duo hitting their prime.
In the past, Nani and Wayne Rooney linked up tremendously. But the unforgettable image of the Liverpudlian staring out from the bench as Robin Van Persie hit a sublime effort into the roof of the net on Saturday, is an indication that nothing is guaranteed under Ferguson.
Written by Chris Thompson
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