Is Nani actually worth keeping for Manchester United?

Nani

According to Galatasaray, the have had a £6 million bid for Nani rejected by Manchester United.

The Turkish giant’s chairman Unal Aysal, said: “We offered €7million (£6m) for him. But they didn’t accept. We can’t give more than this.”

“We are not going to follow Nani anymore. We can’t give more than €7m for him.”

“They want €10million (£8.5million). Because of this he is not on our transfer list anymore,” he added.

Firstly, how much is Nani actually worth? In 2007, Manchester United paid €25.5 million to Sporting Lisbon for him in his native Portugal. That was six years ago when he was just 20 years old.

Now, at 26, he has made 212 appearances for the Red Devils under Sir Alex Ferguson – his status in the team was cemented following the departure of compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid in 2009.

Across his six years at Old Trafford, he’s averaged between five and ten goals per season – the only exception being this season in which he made only 17 appearances and scored only 3 goals.

His form and fitness have been an issue but what is likely of more urgent concern to the club is his contract, which enters its final year next month. The club cannot afford to lose a player they spent €25.5 million on for nothing in 2014 and, given his £90,000 a week wage-packet and his declining form, United may be best off selling him.

But, if Aysal’s claims are to be believed, United want closer to €10 million (£8.5 million) which would still be less than half what they paid for him. Of course, they paid that price for his potential as much as his talent but, at 26, they would have hoped he’d be close to level Ronaldo was when he was sold after exactly the same number of years spent at Old Trafford.

When Ronaldo arrived in 2003, he was just 18 and he cost United just over half of what Nani did (€15 million) from the same club. Of course the players a different people – even I realise that – and few players achieve the kind of heights that Ronaldo has.

But, if United are going to lose money on him anyway, should they just keep Nani for one more season?

As far as their wingers go, it’s relatively slim pickings at present – Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia have had their fair share of form and fitness problems and whilst the arrival of Wilfried Zaha ought to liven things up, he’s still just 20 years old and about to embark on his debut Premier League season next term – he can’t be relied upon too heavily just yet.

Nani is going to be a loss financially whichever way United look at it – they could recoup around a third of their outlay if they sell him this summer and dump his monumental wage-packet off their books but, other than that, they aren’t going to take any positives from his sale.

For the cover he would offer and the competition he would give Zaha, he might just be worth keeping around. There is a tendency to quickly forget how good a player is just because they're out of the team. He’s not Cristiano Ronaldo but he’s still got gas in the tank and at 26 he might just be entering the peak years of his career. Perhaps we have yet to see the best of Luis Nani.

image: © gordonflood.com

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