With plenty of signings, there are also, eventually, going to be plenty of players leaving Manchester United. One of the bigger names that might find themselves leaving the club, although not immediately, is Nani, whose disappointing performances on the pitch and behavior off of it isn’t winning him any fans at Old Trafford.
It’s been five years since Luís Carlos Almeida da Cunha, Nani in short, arrived at Old Trafford from Sporting in Portugal for a fee of €25.5 million, which means Alex Ferguson believed that by the age of 25, the Portuguese winger (born in Cape Verde) should develop into one of the best players at his position in the world. Well, has he?
Stepping out of the Cristiano Ronaldo shadow was a must for Nani, both in terms of not playing alongside one of the two best players in the world and not trying to be him. It took Ferguson some time, but in the 2010-2011 season, it seemed that Nani finally put everything together. His fantastic individual skills were used for the good of the team in most matches, instead of trying some impressing dribbling moves in yet another failed solo effort. Last season began well, but an injury and a fall in form pushed Nani out of the lineup quite a few times.
Against Everton? Pretty much the same. Unfocused, bad crossing, bad decision making. It’s only one match, but it adds up to everything bad from last season, which didn’t really cement Nani’s place as a star for years to come in the United lineup. Worse, his contract runs out in two years. Nani currently makes £90,000 a week.
Not bad, but not superstar money, although Nani isn’t a superstar, despite what his advisers keep telling him or how he sees himself. His demands on the new contract are through the roof (over £150,000 a week), which isn’t something Alex Ferguson and his club are willing to pay a player, that when you get to the bottom of it, isn’t someone you can rely on to deliver on a regular basis.
As one Untied source put it – The club did not think his form at the end of last season put him in a very strong bargaining position over a new deal. The plan right now? I’m pretty sure we’ll be seeing him getting more chances to start, but patience and credit are running out soon. Still, United won’t make it easy on him to leave if he feels unwanted, knowing there’s plenty of time on his contract for things to change and to demand a high price for a player who might be one of the most talented wingers in the world, but he simply lacks a certain focus or some other factor (humility?) that denies him from truly being great week in and week out.