Making the most of your opportunities doesn’t put you back in the lineup picture, and Nani is still a fringe player for Manchester United, even if he impressed in a friendly match featuring those not joining the main part of the squad in the Far East tour.
With Monaco declaring they’re not going to try and sign the Portuguese winger, it seems like United are once again trying to sign Nani on a contract extension. They have tried squeezing some money out of clubs for the talented players this summer, but all the talk about a move to Russia, Roma or Monaco hasn’t amounted in anything but talk and printed words.
At his best, which we haven’t seen in a very long time, Nani should still be one of the best wingers in the world. He didn’t get many opportunities to show that last season, as Alex Ferguson seemed to have had enough with Nani’s behavior off the pitch, his selfishness on it and his weakness in supporting Rafael or any other right back defensively.
Just when he got his chance to put himself back in Ferguson’s favor, he goes out and by mistake karate kick a Real Madrid player in the chest, and cost Manchester United a place in the Champions League quarterfinals. Ferguson never forgave the referee, but Nani didn’t really see the pitch too much after that March incident.
At 26, Nani might be heading towards another season of sitting out most of it. Sure, United have problems on its wings which means Nani might be back in the picture if things don’t get better, but it seems that some light inside of him has been put off. No longer a speedy, creative and exciting winger to watch on most occasions, Nani that isn’t sure of his place in the lineup seems to be too busy trying to impress instead of being part of a team.
On the other hand, an overconfident Nani tends to drift to the wrong part of the equation as well, as the second half of the 2011-2012 season taught us, leading to where he is at the moment. For Portugal, in Euro 2012, Nani seemed to shine and play to the ability that made him, possibly, United’s best player in 2011. Too little of that has actually manifested for him over the last 18 months in United uniform.
But splendid goals are splendid goals, and even against Crewe, an impressive free kick and another goal are enough to boost his confidence and maybe change a little bit his chances of becoming a meaningful player for the Premier League champions once again.
If Antonio Valencia continues his habit of getting injured and with the ability he produced last season, while Ashley Young hasn’t been doing much better since arriving, failing to show consistency and never really recovering from his diving days, Nani might still have a future at United, or at least for one more season. Getting him to sign a long-term deal might not be the wisest, or the easiest thing to accomplish.