The Red Devils’ top target this summer is the Chile international but the 27-year-old Juventus star is proving more than a little cumbersome to drag away from the Old Lady. Whilst rumours are rife that there are on-going negotiations between Manchester United and the Serie A champions, suggestions have emerged that Juventus may be interested in a swap deal.
However, the potential subject of that swap deal moving in the opposite direction, away from Old Trafford, remains a mystery with some sources claiming striker Javier Hernandez could be used as a bargain chip whilst others point to Nani as the target of interest. The question is, which of the pair would United be more inclined to lose this summer?
Neither of the two forward players were granted much opportunity under David Moyes's previous reign at Old Trafford. 27-year-old winger and Portugal international Nani hasn’t been anywhere near his best for at least two years following a string of injuries and setbacks that saw his fitness and form deteriorate.
Meanwhile, 26-year-old Chicharito can no longer be considered a youngster. The striker is now in the most fruitful years of any forward’s career and yet he is has spent the majority of the last 12 months on the bench. Prior to the arrival of Robin van Persie, Hernandez was granted regular first-team playing opportunities but since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson his opportunities diminished as last season he was granted just six starts in the Premier League.
In terms of what Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal may need, neither is particularly that influential over the first team and, arguably, both are easily replaceable. On the flanks the Dutch coach has youngster Adnan Januzaj breaking through with potency as well as a sharper looking Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia, a somewhat disgruntled Wilfried Zaha and the likes of Juan Mata, Ander Herrera, Tom Cleverley and Shinji Kagawa who can all cover in wide areas.
Up front Van Gaal has Van Persie, new captain Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck with youngster Will Keane waiting in the wings for his opportunity but, with the fitness issues suffered by Van Persie last term, perhaps keeping a technically gifted and proven goal scorer at the age of maturity now in the squad wouldn’t do the club any harm.
On top of that, Nani has been linked sporadically with a move to Juventus for the last 18 months and perhaps even prior to that and it’s been clear for some time now that his best years are behind him in terms of his career with Manchester United.