Nani has proven to be a frustrating player for the Manchester United faithful. Undoubtedly talented, the Portuguese winger has failed to consistently perform at Old Trafford, despite a brief spell in 2010 suggesting he was finally set to step into the boots of the departed Cristiano Ronaldo.
Those heady months apart, the now-27-year-old has flattered to deceive despite arguably having the world at his feet.
He has the pace, the tricks, the natural ability and the confidence to be one of the best attacking players in the game. And yet somehow those traits rarely become a glorious whole, Nani instead looking somewhat out of place even in an under-performing United side.
The latest reports claim the Portuguese international could be used as a makeweight in a move for Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal, which leads to the suggestion that Nani could still play a huge role in United’s future, just not in the way he might have hoped.
Rather than anything he does on the pitch, it could be Nani’s exit that hails a bright new dawn for United, with Vidal exactly what Louis van Gaal’s side needs.
Vidal is an all-action, box-to-box midfielder with an eye for goal and a steely attitude to the game. In short, he could be United’s best midfield signing since Roy Keane.
So while it is being claimed Juventus have asked for £45million plus the misfiring winger in exchange for the Chile international, there should be no question over what United do next.
Quality is expensive, and few possess more footballing quality than Vidal, while losing Nani is a small sacrifice to make if United can secure arguably the best central midfielder in the game.
Of course the latest report could simply be more speculation in a growing mountain of the stuff. But if Nani really does hold the key to United securing Vidal, he could go down as a vital part of the club’s history, his exit the catalyst for a necessary arrival.