Despite speculation of late to the contrary, recent reports have suggested that Nani will not be moved on to pastures new, and will be assured by Sir Alex Ferguson that he still features in his plans as the supposed Summer re-building of the squad begins to take shape.
Many among the United faithful will have been baffled by speculation linking the young Portuguese winger with a move away from the club, given the fact the recently finished season had been his most successful to date, a season in which many saw his potential produce an end product that led to 10 goals in all competitions, and 19 assists. Described as a breakthrough season for someone who had struggled to emulate the success of Cristiano Ronaldo before him, it was believed that he had come of age and was no producing the form that had caused United to invest such significant funds on him in the first place.
However, despite this drastic improvement in performance, the second half of the season saw him faced with more time starting on the bench, much like teammate Dimitar Berbatov. Having spent much of the season playing out on the right, the return of Antonio Valencia, a traditional right winger, forced Nani to try his luck out on the left, an area that has proved problematic in failing to find consistency in his play. Consequently the good form of Valencia on his return, and the hit-and-miss results of Nani on the left led to a preference to Park taking up the other side, and Nani forced to endure more spells as a substitute, culminating in a failure to be given a starting role in the defeat to Barcelona in the Champion’s League final. Perhaps the lack of defensive cover was an issue when considering this, or perhaps Valencia was deemed more effective on the right, with his more traditional play leaving less exposure on the wing, but many fans felt the treatment of someone who had proved so effective in gaining results for a team that had not played well at times, was extremely unfair. It has been suggested that the treatment of him and Berbatov, considering their exploits had been misjudged and that greater rewards should have met two players who had found themselves far more comfortable in the United set up than they had done since their arrivals.
Now, with the Summer upon us and the transfer window leading many newspapers and gossip sites to go into overdrive with speculation, Manchester United have consistently been linked with activity both in terms of imminent arrivals and impending departures. And the two names often reported to be displaying their discontent is Berbatov and Nani. Matters will not have been aided by the arrival of Ashley Young, signing a five year contract to add to an ever-expanding list of wingmen at Ferguson’s disposal. Such saturation of wing options have led many to believe this has been a signal that Nani is surplus to requirements, despite the lack of justification among many for such a thing to occur.
However, if the latest speculation is to be believed then fans can be safe in the knowledge that a player who was a key feature in United winning an unprecedented 19th league title will not be going anywhere this Summer and will be fighting for a place come the start of the new campaign in August.