Instead of moving forward from his breakout season two years ago, Nani keeps taking steps backwards in his footballing career and relationship with Manchester United and his manager Alex Ferguson, planning to possibly block any deal made for him, running out his contract and denying the club the transfer fee.
With two years left on his contract, earning £90,000 a week in wages, Nani isn’t exactly underpaid. But he, and the people whispering advice in his ear around him, think that he’s one of the best players in the world. All summer United and the player were in talks about a contract extension, but Nani’s demands for something in the ballpark of £150,000, when he’s not even a starting player half the time, pretty much proved to everyone that there isn’t much to talk about at the moment.
Nani got the start against Everton, but was one of the worst players on the pitch. He didn’t get a chance against Fulham, but did play 30 minutes in the dramatic 3-2 win over Southampton, notching up an assist for the winning goal. He didn’t play especially well, but at least he did contribute something. But his off the field behavior continues to vex the United officials.
Zenit were very much interested in completing a deal for the player, who cost Manchester United €25.5 million to get from Sporting back in 2007, but Nani and his agents torpedoes the deal. How? By simply asking for £200,000 a week from Zenit just to even consider making a move to Russia. The Russians, at the moment, said no thank you, while United missed an opportunity to make some money off a player who seems to have less and less room in Ferguson’s plans.
Meanwhile, Nani has been ordered by the club to stop talking to the press or stop leaking information from negotiations. It might not be him directly; maybe someone close to him that’s involved, but it’s obvious where the source is coming from, and it’s obvious that the Portuguese winger isn’t happy with the situation at Old Trafford. Too many players are preferred to start in front of him, even with Wayne Rooney out injured.
The ending? Still not quite clear how & when. Ferguson has turned around want-away players before, with Rooney being the perfect and best example, but Nani always seems a bit less connected to where he’s at, an individual and care-about-me-first attitude that’s not usually welcome at Old Trafford. As long as he was playing well, they could live with that. But when the old problems of his selfish style rise to the surface once again, it seems he just doesn’t fit the mold of what United want their start to be like.