By Mark James
Regular readers of OldTrafford.Com may be aware that I am far from likely to be listed amongst the biggest admirers of Luis Nani’s irregular talents. It’s not that I consider him to lack the ability to earn a regular place in the Manchester United first team, as much as I am rarely given any reason to believe that he deserves it.
For a player of such pace, strength and skill, the Portuguese winger seems to lack the desire, intelligence and focus needed to excel and the very highest level. It is in this undeniable possession of physical ability that my frustrations with Nani lies. He really does have all of the attributes required to star in the Premier League. When he takes on the winger and gets his head up, he is capable of emerging as a constant attacking threat, while hois ability to cut inside and delvier a powerful shot at goal is comparabe to his more notoriously praised international teammate, Cristiano Ronaldo. The 2010/11 season demonstrated this best, as he has his most successful year in a United shirt and ended up as the league’s leading assist maker.
Despite that, constantly reoccurring injuries, dips in form and an inability to forge any kind of claim over the wing position, has seen the former Sporting Lisbon star’s stock fall dramatically as a club player. Despite Sir Alex’s assertions that they have every intention of keeping a player who is undeniably capable of being a game-changer, but rarely proves himself to be so in practice, it seems hard to imagine that Nani will be receiving the kind of wages he has reportedly been seeking during more recent contract negotiations.
With that said, I am not one to kick a man while he is down, and, with the monstrous injustice committed against Real Madrid, Nani is certainly deserving of an arm around the shoulder and a bit of support. Fortunately, it appears as if this egregious error could be the spark to finally lift the acrobatic winger from his sporting slumber. Nani has confidently expressed that, ” “I want to show [Sir Alex] my contribution can help win games, so I’ll keep working hard to make sure I’m ready every time I get a chance.” And it’s about time.
This is the Nani we all want. We know what he is capable of on the football pitch. But, with the recent acquisition of Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace, we also know that his days at Old Trafford could be numbered. Perhaps Nani is starting to realise that the grass is rarely greener and that now is the time to re-prove his worth to the United cause. The only question remaining is whether the short amount of time between now and the end of the season will be enough to prevent Manchester United from cashing in on a player who never quite did fill the famous boots of Cristiano Ronaldo.
So, can Nani reignite his Old Trafford career or will he be on his way by the time the summer transfer window reopens? As always, we eagerly await your thoughts…