Will Zaha replace Nani at Manchester United?

Manchester United look set to secure the services of England youngster Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace for a fee widely reported at £15 million.

In the run up to the January transfer window there were a number of rumours flying around about the imminent departure of contract rebel Nani whose future at Old Trafford hangs in the balance – even more so should United sign Zaha.

The youngster can play anywhere across the attacking line but is most comfortable on the right wing or through the middle as a striker. It’s hard to see how and when he’s going to play as a central striker for United in the near future as they already boast some of the best strikers in the world.

Robin van Persie tends to lead the line for the bulk of fixtures with Wayne Rooney now playing behind him as a more traditional number 10. Sir Alex Ferguson has both Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck at his disposal so I would imagine the youngster will likely play on the right wing.

There may be a possibility that United will loan Zaha back to Crystal Palace for the remainder of this season which, in my estimation, would be the most effective means on ensuring the player continues his development.

Whether that comes to pass or not we are none the wiser yet but that would surely make the most sense as United currently have Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia, Ryan Giggs, Tom Cleverley, Shinji Kagawa and Nani who can all play on the wing.

However, should Zaha actually make his move to Old Trafford in the summer, he might find that position has been conveniently vacated by Nani.

The Portuguese international has refused to renew his contract with United and his current deal expires in the summer of 2014. Rumour has it that Ferguson is less than enamored with his performances in the last couple of seasons, which, for the most part, have been inconsistent.

At 26 years of age he could very well make a move to another top club in Europe where he can improve his form and restore his reputation. Zaha would then find his competition would be narrowed down, in all likelihood, to Antonio Valencia (who has had his fare share of injury problems in the past) and that’s about it.

Ashley Young is more often utilized on the left; Ryan Giggs is practically a pensioner, and Cleverley is more effective as an attacking central midfielder, as is Kagawa.

I’m inclined to suggest that if United sign Wilfried Zaha in this transfer window, that is a sure sign that Nani will be sold in the summer. Probably for just over £15 million.

images: © Dagur Brynjólfsson, © notsogoodphotography

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