Manchester United have already wrapped up the signings of Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell this summer, and whilst more names have been linked with moves to Old Trafford, most notably Robin Van Persie and Joao Moutinho, there is a signing closer to home that we should be looking to wrap up.
Luis Nani’s transformation has been somewhat remarkable, as the Portuguese winger went from a promising but ultimately frustrating ‘could have been’ to an integral part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s team.
The ability was there but he didn’t seem capable of utilising it consistently. There were flashes of brilliance amidst a mire of mediocrity and poor decision making. Then he gave an interview to Portuguese press criticising Sir Alex’s handling of his career and many of us thought his time at Old Trafford was over.
But there is a reason Sir Alex is in charge. He took control of the situation, gave Nani a tad more responsibility and he hasn’t looked back since. He returned from injury that January looking a much better player, helping Wayne Rooney demolish Hull and built on that for the remainder of the season.
In 2010/2011 Nani had arguably his best season scoring and assisting goals in abundance and it was thought that this past season would see him really begin to announce himself as a world class player. Injury hampered his attempts but he still managed a respectable return of 10 goals and 14 assists.
As the season drew to an end the press reported Nani was set to sign a new deal as the winger apparently told The Dail Mail:
“My agent is negotiating with the club on a new deal and things are going very well.”
As well as this he called Manchester United ‘home’, so it was a matter that could apparently be put to bed? Not quite. By June there were rumours of contract talks stalling and as of now no new deal has been signed.
Whilst some fans are advocating the sale of Nani, I think we would be in our best interests to keep him.
With the emergence of Antonio Valencia as a potent force on the right as well as the signing of Ashley Young, it is easy to forget how useful Nani is but his play speaks for itself.
Nani is one of few United players capable of magic, prior to Euro 2012 he put himself up with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and whilst he isn’t quite at that level, he does have that same ability to produce something special like his country man.
Players of Nani’s ability aren’t just freely available especially not at a price that we will be willing to pay, so why should we let one go?
He showed at the European Championships this summer that he is capable of mixing it with the world’s best, this hasn’t been in doubt, and I feel that when given a proper run in the team and allowed to develop form he is one of, if not the best winger in world football.
Of course we as fans aren’t aware of what has caused talks to come to a standstill, but I don’t think many people would be against paying him handsomely considering the way he has developed since signing his current deal in March 2010, and will continue to develop.
As said previously players of Nani’s ability aren’t readily available on the transfer market, so we should be looking at keeping him in order to benefit from when he finally reaches that ‘world class’ plateau, rather than letting another club benefit from the time and work we have invested in him since 2007.