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Why it’s great Nani has signed a new deal

Nani goal vs CityNani has been a player that has split opinion for some time which meant there were mixed responses to news that he had agreed a new five-year-deal with the club. Not long ago, it appeared as though Nani would certainly be leaving the club and had Sir Alex Ferguson remained as manager, I imagine the Portuguese winger would have gone. Last summer, he was flogged all around Europe and the club even agreed a deal with Zenit St Petersburg. Nani wanted to stay though so demanded ridiculous wages to ensure that the move fell through.

This summer, Nani had just one year remaining on his current contract and with Ferguson unwilling to offer the £130k-a-week deal the player wanted, it was assumed the club would sell to the highest bidder to stop him from leaving on a free next year.

However, Nani’s situation changed when David Moyes got the job, and it’s clear our new manager is keen to give him a go. Personally, I am delighted by this. Whilst of course Ferguson was a brilliant manager, he was only human, and it seems as though he just wasn’t keen to keep Nani, for whatever reason. If we had better wingers than Nani, I would see sense in this, but there is no way that Ashley Young should be keeping him out of the team. Still, Young and Valencia were Ferguson’s first choice, when they were fit. Nani is a better player than both of them though and it’s great to see him given another chance.

I don’t mean to be harsh on Antonio Valencia though, who was voted into the PFA Team of the Year at the end of his first season at United. While it was clear he was no Cristiano Ronaldo, despite filling his position on the right wing, he managed to completely raise his game after moving to Old Trafford.

In his first season he scored as many goals as he had in total for Wigan in the previous four seasons combined and played a huge part in Wayne Rooney’s excellent form that year.

Valencia started the following season with a goal against Chelsea in the Community Shield but a couple of weeks later he broke his ankle in our Champions League game against Rangers.

While this was dreadful news for United, it turned out to be very beneficial for Nani who was able to spend the season on his preferred right wing. I interviewed Nani a few years ago and he insisted he was happy to play on either wing, but there’s no denying he has his better games on the right.

With Rooney asking to leave the club in 2010, then changing his mind, but failing to be much of a threat in front of goal until our second half of the season, Nani was our saviour as we marched on to break Liverpool’s title record and earned us our 19th English league championship.

Dimitar Berbatov deserves a mention, given he was the league’s top scorer that season, but Nani claimed more assists than any other player, with three more than Drogba, four more than Fabregas, and double the number of David Silva. He was voted Manchester United player of the season by his team mates and was vital to our success that season.

Nani has failed to reach such highs since though, much to the frustration of the fans, and is regularly given stick from the Old Trafford crowd. Their patience has seemingly run out, so even when he makes his first mistake of the game the crowd are on his back straight away. But he is a frustrating player because his decision-making can often be very poor. He will do the most difficult part, in beating the player, but then will take one touch too many, pass to the wrong player or won’t be able to pull off a particular bit of skill.

However, the nature of flair players like Nani is that they will try more audacious tricks, and that is what you want to see, but it’s so irritating when it doesn’t work – particularly when a much easier ball has been missed.

When it comes to ability, Nani is one of our best players though, and has ripped apart Chelsea, City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs in the past – scoring incredible goals and playing in a way very few players can. On his day, he is unplayable but unfortunately those days have become few and far between.

Of course Nani has to take some responsibility for that, as well suffering from several injuries, but his cause wasn’t helped by Ferguson.

He lost his spot on the right once Valencia returned from injury and in more recent seasons hasn’t been given a regular run in the team. Fergie clearly didn’t fancy him any more and didn’t give the player the opportunity to redeem himself. He barely got a look in last season which was ridiculous when you look at how badly Valencia and Young played.

Under David Moyes it’s a clean slate for Nani and, with a new five-year deal, hopefully we’ll see the very best from him.

Valencia’s form is hit and miss these days so there’s no reason why Nani can’t stake a claim for that starting right wing spot – especially if the fans can get off his back and give him a bit of support. But even if Nani was losing out on the right wing to play on the left, with Wilf Zaha also starting, I think we could be terrifying on the attack. They are similar players and what they attempt won’t always work, but if they were given a regular place in the starting XI, you would we would see a great consistency in their performances. He’s a quality player and now 26-years-old, he should be hitting his peak. Fingers crossed he goes on to become the top player he’s always looked capable of becoming.



  1. Costas says:

    Best piece of business we did this summer. Ironically it was the one benefit Fergie’s retirement provided us with.

    P.S. Do we have to hear Hamann’s drivel for so long?

  2. evered7 says:

    If Rooney needs to be played back into fitness, I don’t see a reason why Nani should be any different.

    I haven’t heard Fergie single out a player for a defeat as he did with Nani after Chelsea defeat in CC. Also I believe he was down with a hamstring injury for most part till January.

    Anyway I am glad he got a fresh start and hoping that he reaches the heights of the 2010 season.

  3. AlphaRS says:

    Nani is a confidence player. He just needs an arm around the shoulder and a run of games. There is no way that Ashley Young is a better player than him though. I wonder how regular Moyes will play the skilful or flair players though because he seems to value hardworking players or Giggs over the likes of Kagawa, Nani, and Zaha.

  4. Hans says:

    If he can find consistency, Nani could be a great player for us. His short preseason, before injury, was promising and I thought that he was showing signs that he has improved his decision making and was less selfish.

    I always thought that Fergie never forgave him for the stupidity at Stamford Bridge on the last minute while leading 3:2. That’s why he was flogged in January.

    I also believe that finding out that he was not going to get £130k, anywhere else and Fergie leaving made him change his mind!

  5. Sparkz says:

    Now that we’ve got additional defensive presence in midfield, let’s allow our technical, creative attacking players to go out there and do their thing. That includes Nani. He’s shown before that when trusted by the manager and given a consistent run in the team, he comes up trumps.

    As a sidenote, I’ve never fully bought into this “we always need grafters on the wing to protect the full back” mentality. Fair enough, in some games you will need that type of player but generally I doubt it.

    Remember that for many years, Evra played behind the likes of Ronaldo and Nani (neither of whom are known for their defending). Yet he still put in brilliant performances.

    Yet between 2010-12, when he had grafters like Young and Park playing in front of him…his performances were dreadful. Maybe it’s more about the full back himself, rather than any protection he gets? Hell, Wes Brown played behind a floating Ronaldo in 07/08 and managed to have the season of his life!

    Look at Zabaleta. Often plays behind the likea of Silva and Nasri (Milner only occasionally) – yet he’s one of the best full backs around.

    Time to pick wingers based on their main role, which is goals, assists and all round creativity

  6. slim says:

    Remember having a discussion with Costas on having Nani and Valencia slug it out on the right wing. Here we are almost 2 years later and we still haven’t gone this route. I hope he gets a decent run out on the right with DM in charge. Let Kagawa, Danny and Young slug it out for the left. I reckon if either Kagawa or Danny is on the left , one of them will play through the middle, Or, Rooney takes one place with the other on the bench. This set up i think gives us a bit more balance and the right kind of competition. Our biggest problem has been balance,
    You know i wouldn’t mind seeing Valencia as a full back

  7. slim says:

    If we improve the pressing and emphasis we have on the ball to dictate games , i’d totally like to see Valencia as a wing back – 3-5-2 comes to mind but i’m no good with formations so take that as you will.
    Alves does the same for Barcelona, mostly makes a nuisance of him self in the attacking area, adds as an extra man and an annoying one too for the opposition.
    Valencia is bigger , faster i reckon and generally more intimidating. He’d fit that role perfectly

  8. Harty67 says:

    I’m sorry but I just cannot get excited about this at all. He has had 7 seven years at the club now but has never reached the levels expected of him. I’m not doubting his skill at all, and that’s what makes him such an infuriating player, knowing that he can do it when he really puts his mind to it. I honestly was hoping he would be leaving this close season, but this has now given him another comfort zone which will be filled with his usual one good game followed by five poor ones. What next, a new contract for Anderson? Why not, as he’s another player that we are still waiting to see the best of, a mere 7 years after his signing!!

  9. Tom R says:

    Anytime Valencia plays right back he looks awesome…physically so strong, very comfortable on the ball , think its he’s best position

  10. Sparkz says:

    Yeah I think Valencia’s speed, strength and the fact he’s so difficult to stop when he builds up a head of steam could make him a very handy full back. Most of his best games in 2013 have been there, on the wing he can get tightly marked and struggle..but full backs always have a lot more space, so he can cause havoc. Plus he’s quite solid defensively

    It’d be interesting to see a system where, when we have the ball, Carrick drops deep and almost makes a back 3, along with the 2 centre backs (Busquets does this for Barca). That means the full backs can push on like Slim suggested… and the 2 wingers , say Nani and Kagawa, can go infield and get closer to RVP.

    Rooney could drop deeper alongside Fellaini to spray the passes about. Almost be like a 3-4-3 in possession

  11. Sparkz says:

    @Harty – have you seen his goals and assists stats over the last few years? I refuse to buy into this “inconsistent, hasn’t delivered” theory. It’s just that his style of play is unpredictable and risky…hence the infuriating part. But as long as he keeps racking up those goals and assists, he’s doing his job

  12. denton davey says:

    Sparkz @ 11:28: “Now that we’ve got additional defensive presence in midfield, let’s allow our technical, creative attacking players to go out there and do their thing. That includes Nani.”

    You beat me to the punch. The addition of TheBigFella should enable the manager to play some version of a 4-2-4 which will benefit not only Nani but also KagawaBunga and Chicharito and TheWayneBoy and RVP = even if only four of them will play at any one time. I’m not sure what this kind of set-up will mean for DannyTheLad who has qualities but doesn’t have the “quality” of the other five when it comes to scoring goals for UTD.

  13. reddevil61 says:

    totally agree with your comments , 7years at our club and still as frustrating as ever . ando enough. said

  14. parryheid says:

    Valencia at full back?I think not I don’t even like him filling in.A waste of his talent he’s a winger pure and simple.

  15. Costas says:

    Well for one thing Nani has had 6 years at the club, not 7. And his situation is nothing like Anderson’s. While the latter has done nothing in the last 3 years and has overstayed his welcome, Nani has come into his own during the same time period. If only we had another winger with the same amount of goals and assists…

  16. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Has valencia really justified a place as an out and out wide man? has had a good career at united but I think his limited has caught up with him, he hasn’t got the technique to adapt and out-wit solid fullbacks.

  17. parryheid says:

    And that’s a matter of opinion ,it’s not mine.

  18. Hifedollar$ says:

    Nani is a wounderful player that cannot be compared with any unite winger.Valencial was also a good player but he is more prefered at the right back,his across and attacking system is a quality of a right side defender.with the wellcome of mr fellaini united could be able to play a 3 5 3 formation which will help both players.

  19. GENTLEKEZ says:

    Nani is d best winger utd has now, young and valencia should just leave they are not utd standard. Pls can someone tell moyes that playing zaha will make him better, any day anytime zaha>young>valencia. Lingard and januzaj are also better players than those two shits that plays 90mins without beating there man.
    Sir Giggs pls I beg you to retire so that these kids will develop, stop blocking there chances.
    Scot said he is dreaming of welbeck becoming all time top scorer one day, am laughing here because since d youth setup he has never been a good scorer but a good player. Rossi, macheda were above him. Will keane is a better candidate but d best candidate is WILSON. Am using those names because they are manchester born and are more likely to be one club player.

  20. parryheid says:

    Watch and not hurt your feet.

  21. hammed abiola f says:

    l have a feeling nani is staying to Proof he’s ready to fight for his place, therefore united benefit all the way

  22. Jamiu says:

    The Real Man.utd Formation should be
    De Gea-Rafael-Jones-Vidic-Evra-Carrick-Fellaini-Kagawa-Rooney-Nani-RVP……the rest would make the bench look sweet

  23. zaha says:

    I agree thats Man Utd’s best team.

  24. The One says:

    Over the moon with Nani’s new deal….on his day he’s unplayable!! Almost like a new signing to me since he didn’t contribute much last term….just hoping he’s back to his best and more consistent than before.

  25. WeAreUnited says:

    BRILLIANT article Scott.

    when you just watch those goals and many more, WHO DOES REMEMEBR the goal against Bolton, yes bolton, when Nani got the ball in the middle of the park and run like messi and scored.

    Nani has proved himself, it was SAF’s problem that he did not trust Nani, when he did, Nani was a ballon do’r nominee, remember GUYS, Nani was 19-20 when he came here to play for us, Zaha is also 20, soe yeah he maybe has been here 6 years, but the lad needed 3 years to grow as many tend to do, or IS IT DIFFERENT with Nani? then he hit into his level and CONSISTENTLY has proven that with 10 + 10 stats almost for every season.

    so yeah, THE best business we did in this transfer window. Imagine a hungry Nani a hungry Kagawa a hungry Chicha and a hungry Rooney who are all waitign to play and prove themselves yet again, now that is what I call brillian! we need hungry players who are willing to prove themselves all over again!


  26. BESTIE says:

    One of the europes best matchwinners, good that he is still with us! Fergie has the same opinion and it seems that even Moyes shares that opinion. Come on United!!!

  27. adix74 says:

    Just a reminder. Sir Alex played him against Real Madrid and he was one of the best players until that preposterous sending of!

  28. roboo7 says:

    The new deal will bring the best out of him and that will be like a new signing the same with rooney i think.

  29. pablo says:

    Anyone remember that game last season where we had Nani on the right and Valencia at right back, they interchanged well and made a good combination. I can remember Nani(yes Nani) making some good tackles in that game.

  30. Squeaky says:

    Well written Scott, and you’re right its not about shunting Valencia or Young about the way either. Call it natural selection if you will? But Nani is the best natural talent we have so to not play him is madness.

    He’s the kind of player Moyes would’ve picked up at Everton, given a run of games in the supportive role behind 1-man Yakubu, and had half the United support singing sign him up whenever he scored.

    It would’ve been a mistake to let him go in the summer. Theres no doubt Nani can & will reach his full potential, plus Moyes doesn’t strike me as a bloke who can’t man-manage. Watch this space.

  31. Ezzerguru says:

    “…I haven’t seen Fergie single out a player…”

    Unfortunately Alex rarely forgives and forget… although he didn’t name Berbatov after the wembley semi-final defeat to City, he made it clear he felt we lost because of Berbatov – “we didn’t take our chances” no blame attached to Scholesy who got himself sent off when we were a goal down. So after the Chelsea game it was obvious Nani had fallen from grace. I have to say that was the one side of Sir Alex I couldn’t get my head around.

    Personally I’m very please he re-signed, hopefully he’ll be more relaxed on the pitch knowing the manager has full confidence in him.

    I agree with @Squeaky Says

    Watch this space!

  32. kel says:

    Brilliant article again! The fact that I like football is to watch players play audacious tricks and do things never seen before like Nani did. Not normal stuffs pass pass pass and no penetration forward like Young.

  33. dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT says:

    Look we have argued this several times but I think the time for argument is over. If you would rather see Ashley Young on the pitch than Nani then I have no words for you. Ridiculous.

  34. busby says:

    If we are to play with wingers we should go with nani and young as these two can swap wings and keep the opponent guessing. These two feeding rooney and rvp whilst playing off a platform of carrick and fellaini will be good stuff. Kagawa can compete with rooney or can even come in for rvp and play behind rooney. We have a great squad. Herrera and coentrao would have made us complete but we are still good.

  35. Tope99 says:

    How much does Nani earn now ?

  36. blacksocks says:

    I hope Nani and Zaha get a chance to shine soon. They both offer something different – ie: they like to dribble and take the opposition full back on. This is not risk free I grant you but when it works it results in United creating better chances to score compared to just trying to pass through the opposition.

    I still prefer Rafael at right back over Valencia and Young should be considered no more than a back up player too. The team Moyes picks next following the defeat to Liverpool could be a very important indicator as to how he says his first 11 this season. I for one hope it includes Nani.


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