Blog by: Srihari
From being out of favour with Sir Alex Ferguson and almost moving out of Manchester United in January, to signing a five-year contract extension, right after the transfer window slammed shut, Nani has certainly had an interesting year so far.
Upon signing his contract, which will keep him at United till 2018, Nani said that “playing at United has been a fantastic experience” and that he “never imaged the success we have enjoyed” ever since his arrival in 2007 form Sporting Lisbon for little over €25 million.
His six years at the club, has been largely successful, having won four Premier League titles, the Champions League, the FIFA Club World Cup and the League Cup. But, his contribution to the most recent title, was limited to say the least. Although, it was mostly owing to injuries, he was also unable to recapture the form which saw him win the Man United’s Players’ Player of the Year during their previous league triumph.
And although he had a lackluster season last year, David Moyes has banked on his ability to overcome his injury concerns and recapture the form which saw him score 10 goals in back-to-back seasons. After the Portuguese signed on the dotted line, Moyes said that “Nani has great ability and experience” and that he has been very impressed with his approach to training and was looking forward to working with him.
On the face of it, after their failure to add any midfielders to their ranks, giving Nani a new contract, smacks of desperation. Especially given the fact earlier on the summer, Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal and Juventus were interested in securing the services of the Portuguese attacker for little over £11 million. And although, the club are short stocked on wingers and Nani’s contract expires next summer, a five-year contract still looks a little too much.
After all, Nani hasn’t been in the best of form lately and has been unable to make any inroads into the starting XI. Particularly during a time when none of the wingers have cemented a place in the lineup. Add to this, the fact that Moyes prefers his wingers to concentrate on their defensive work as well, means that this long contract extension seems a little strange to say the least.
Whilst the case for not signing him up is pretty solid, there is an even better case, to be made for his stay at the club. At the peak of his abilities, Nani is a skilled dribbler capable of bedazzling the opposition defense with his trickery and an eye for goal, from any range. His first touch is second to none and also possesses an innate ability to find his team mates at will, a quality which is all but absent in quite a few of his teammates.
And perhaps, after not being on Sir Alex Ferguson’s good books last year thanks to his performances, maybe a gesture of faith from his new manager is just what he needs to rediscover his mojo. This contract certainly seems like one that could very well help him turn back the clock to the days when Nani seemed to be on the cusp of becoming a truly world class player and emulating in his predecessor’s footsteps.
This has all the makings of a Moyes master stroke if the Portuguese attacker turns on the style. But the flip side is that although Nani is highly talented, he misses out far too often. And whilst it’s no doubt a risky move, it is something that had to be done, especially with the lack of creative options at United right now. And only time will tell, whether Moyes made the right choice or not.