Nani not ok as transfer looms

June 20, 2013 Tags: Reads 12 comments
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There seems little to speculate in the transfer of Luís Carlos Almeida da Cunha away from Old Trafford this summer; a performance in its final act. The winger’s destination and magnitude of fee Manchester United collects in the process is that is left to play out. After all, Nani’s transfer has been  an open secret after the 26-year-old’s least effective season at the club.

Seemingly bent on driving the player  away from the club six years after a £17 million deal brought Nani to Manchester, United will probably take a much-reduced fee for the player who has little more than 12 months left on his contract. The proposed renewal, on the negotiating table for more than two years, has never been signed, with clear blue water been the player and club on valuation.

And with Monaco, Juventus and Galatasaray reportedly interested in the winger it seems this summer will finally end half-a-dozen frustrating years. With Nani goes a huge talent, almost completely unfulfilled since that 2007 move from Sporting.

United’s willingness to take far less than the £25 million Zenit St. Petersburg reportedly bid last winter says much. While the player’s entourage talked up a £160,000 per week contract in the autumn, United offered barely half for a player whose numbers have been good – the past campaign excepted – but whose performances are the epitome of inconsistency.

The casual flick gone wrong, a corner misplaced, a pass when the shot was on, and the strike taken with the team-mate well placed – Nani is a boy in a man’s skin, a player little developed in six campaigns under Sir Alex Ferguson’s tutelage. It is a rare story of the great Scot’s failure.

And so the negotiations begin, with Turkish champions Galatasaray offering just £6 million for the player this week – a sum seemingly rejected by new Old Trafford supremo Edward Woodward.

“We offered €7 million for him, but they didn’t accept,” said Galatasaray club chairman Unal Aysal. “We can’t give more than this. We are not going to follow Nani anymore. We can’t give more than €7 million for him. They want €10 million. Because of this he is not on our transfer list anymore.”

Meanwhile, Jorge Mendes’ Gestifute agency is actively hawking the player around leading clubs in Spain, Italy and France. Cimbom might be reluctant to part with more than £8 million for the 62-cap international, but it is a sum well within newly enriched Monaco’s budget. And while Nani rejected a move to Russia last winter the winger’s fall is such that his is a career on hold until a move materialises.

None of this is news, of course, although Nani’s decline is all the more disappointing following a productive campaign in 2011/12. While the player’s performances have always been erratic, the player contributed 12 goals and 13 assists to United’s cause as the Reds fell just short of claiming a 20th league title in 2011/12.

Those numbers are hard to ignore, and hugely expensive to replicate.

But just seven Premier League starts, four shots on goal, two assists and one goal tell the tale of a player no longer the productive creative hub. With just nine chances created from open play, passing accuracy below 80 per cent, and more than 40 per cent of attempted dribbles resulting in a loss of possession, Nani has rapidly evolved from match-winner to liability.

Yet, the player’s departure leaves United short in a area that became a significant point of failure in Ferguson’s squad last season. With Antonio Valencia out of sorts, Ashley Young injured for much of the campaign and Ryan Giggs ageing with some grace, United secured the Premier League despite an obvious weakness in wide areas.

The incoming Wilfried Zaha, who enjoyed an outstanding campaign for Crystal Palace in the south Londoners’ promotion season, may fill some of the void. But surely only a part, with the 20-year-old is still raw, and completely inexperienced at the highest level. Nimble feet and an eye for goal will ensure Zaha is a firm fans’ favourite in time, but the step up to Premier League level is always accompanied by culture shock.

Then there is Bébé, whose failure at Old Trafford is of such infamy that the winger’s name will forever be associated with outlandish mediocrity – a deal rotten from the start that began and will surely end with the aforementioned super-agent, Mendes.

Remarkably, Bébé’s reputation in Portugal is positive after a successful loan spell at Rio Ave in the latter half of the season, with Nani’s former club Sporting reportedly prepared to do a permanent deal to take the player home. Not unlike Nani, United will take a huge loss on Bébé when Mendes finally uncovers a buyer.

That is for later later this summer though, when United finally buries one of the most embarrassing episodes of Ferguson’s 26-year-long reign.

In the near term Nani’s future should also be resolved. “I have not yet decided where I am going or if I am going,” Nani told RTP last week. “In the next few days I will decide my future.”

Or to be more accurate: it will be determined for him.


George7 - June 20, 2013 Reply

“Ryan Giggs ageing with some grace”, great player 2 -3 years ago but if you are looking at Nani’s stats to show how poor a season he had maybe look at at Giggsys stats also.
One gets plaudits for his performances and one gets constant crap, yet I would take Nani’s stats over Giggsys especially the last 2 categories.
To ‘give’ Nani away for the ammount being quoted is absurd. Where are you going to get a better player for that price? Seen Zaha many times, not good enough yet.

gabagool - June 20, 2013 Reply

What a waste… talent to burn but apparently not a lot upstairs.
I’ll miss his x-factor but hopefully Zaha can step up, otherwise we’re left with a rank out of form Valencia and Ashley fucking Young.
When’s the cheque book coming out this summer?

okechukwu elem - June 20, 2013 Reply

Submitted on 2013/06/14 at 7:23 am
i think luis nani is a good player with so much talent and ability to on any opponent, he should be given more game time to showcase his skills.

Jorge Curioso - June 20, 2013 Reply

Excellent comparison. Nani has been over-slated IMHO. A few really poor decisions, such as vs Chelsea in the League Cup have really damaged his reputation. Moyes could help to rejuvenate him, but I suspect that the pragmatic Moyes’ arrival makes it more likely that Nani will, unfortunately, be shown the door.

barry - June 20, 2013 Reply

When Cristiano left the path was open for nani to shine on his day he is brilliant but his day is only 2 or 3 games a season just another player who has blew his potential get rid i say and send Ashley young with him buy a cm and a left winger that can beat a player and we will retain the title

Denton Davey - June 20, 2013 Reply

I’ve always been a big fan of Nani BUT it seems that his star has faded at UTD and for the Portuguese national team. He didn’t start in the must-win game against Russia a couple of weeks ago and when he came on – with about 60 minutes gone – he didn’t do much to counter the manager’s decision to have him start on the bench.
It seems odd that Nani’s should have deteriorated so much in one season but some guys just “lose it” and that seems to have happened with AV7, too. On the other hand, AshleyBloodyYoung “never had it”.
So the situation for TheLads with the current group of wingers – can you really count on either Giggs or Zaha, except in the most optimistic of scenarios – seems to suggest that a re-think of formations is on the cards. How else can the new manager accommodate Chicharito, RVP, TheWayneBoy, KagawaBunga and DannyTheLad ? And is it feasible to let MC16 play a kind of isolated role in midfield with no one there to afford him “protection” ?

Matt - June 20, 2013 Reply

Giggs tends to play in the big matches and in central positions. Nani has proved himself to be incapable against even the minnows

Ashish - June 20, 2013 Reply

Hi Ed,
It would be a mistake to sell Nani at this stage. Although he did have a disappointing season last time around, I still feel he has a lot to contribute to the team.
Okay maybe he didn’t get on that well with Sir Alex but on the other hand, a new manager could just be the sort of tonic that would motivate him to perform again and impress his new manager.
However, that depends on whether he wants to stay at OT does it not ?

Mongoletsi - June 20, 2013 Reply

Stupid nicknames aside, I agree with every word.

ForeverRed - June 20, 2013 Reply

It’s certainly hard to fathom how we’ve got to into the position of having a team of centre-backs and an abundance of 9/10′s up top, and not much else to shout about. There’s really only Carrick in between and as you said, he is exposed without a solid partner. To me this is why speculation of splashing all the cash on signing a marquee forward would sadly be misspent. We need 3 or 4 additions such are the holes in the team and without addressing the MF, we’d never get the best out of a Bale or Ronaldo, even in the highly unlikely event they were to come.

R.V - June 24, 2013 Reply

I somehow believe that some blame also needs to go to the coaches. The young players not improving hence kept out of first team exposure and the current team members like Nani, Anderson and Young depreciating in terms of performance year by year. I somehow believe in moyes’s work with individual player on the team. Players like Nani, Tony and Young will definitely improve this season.

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