Roma want Nani - could United consider a swap deal?

With Nani’s contract imminently expiring at Manchester United, the Portuguese winger will likely be sold off this summer.

The Red Devils are expected to part ways with the 26-year-old who’s been something of a divisive figure since arriving from Sporting back in 2007. He was intended as a long-term replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo but he never quite filled his compatriots boots.

Nani entered the final year of his £90,000-a-week contract this month and Galatasaray had confirmed their interest in him but, due to United’s reported £12 million valuation, they subsequently withdrew their enquiry last month.

Now, according to reports, Walter Sabatini, director of sport at Serie A side Roma has flown out to negotiate a deal to take Nani to the Italian capital this summer.

But, if United are ‘holding out’ for £12 million, as The Express claims, could they instead opt to do a part exchange or swap deal? Roma have two of the most coveted youngsters in the world on their books at present in Marquinhos and Erik Lamela.

The former is a £13 million-rated 19-year-old centre-back who is a reported target of Spanish champions Barcelona at present. The 6ft tall centre-back could be the ideal long-term replacement for United veteran Rio Ferdinand and would be a quality signing for the future if David Moyes were so inclined.

Or, perhaps a tantalizing suggestion would be 21-year-old Argentine forward Lamela – he’s valued around £20 million but United could swap a player they’re not desperate to keep with a player that could walk into virtually any starting XI on the continent.

The youngster transferred from River Plate in his native Argentina in 2011 and has since become one of the most exciting talents in Serie A. He scored an impressive 15 goals and made 5 assists playing predominantly as a right-winger, which, incidentally, is what United may need to bring in to replace Nani.

Young Wilfried Zaha will arrive fresh from Crystal Palace with bags of energy and plenty to prove but he might not adapt to the top tier overnight and, at just 20-year-old, he’s not going to play 40-odd games in his debut season with the Premier League champions. He could use a bit of competition to keep him bright and hungry.

Lamela would be the ideal signing for United to replace Nani with and with plenty of other top clubs hot on his heels; United might be able to use Nani as a bargaining chip in the deal. If, not, there’s always Marquinhos – if he’s good enough for the Catalans, surely he’s good enough for the Red Devils?

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