Nani admits he still ‘loves Manchester United’ - but does he have a future there?

The Portugal winger has been impressing on loan at Sporting Lisbon.

Manchester United winger Nani has revealed that he loves Manchester United, and is open to returning next season.

The 28-year-old has enjoyed a strong year on loan at boyhood club Sporting Lisbon, and isn't far off equalling his best ever goalscoring campaign, currently boasting eight goals in just 23 games.

Nani often proved himself a frustrating figure during his time at United. Obviously full of pace and skill, as well as a goalscoring ability, he had the misfortune of having to follow Cristiano Ronaldo from Sporting to Old Trafford. Obviously he failed to adequately replace the United legend when he departed for Real Madrid in 2009.

Nani's last two seasons at United were Sir Alex Ferguson's final year and David Moyes' time in charge, making just 34 appearances over both years.

But the forward, capped 83 times by Portugal, hasn't completely given up on returning to the first team picture under Van Gaal.

"I love Manchester United," Nani told The Guardian.

"The only decision I made (last summer) was to play more and be me again, because I lost a lot of things there last season due to injuries and the change of manager.

"You never know the future. It depends on a lot of things. If United want me to stay then with a different mentality I think we can work well next season but there are a lot of things to discuss."

Given that Van Gaal has, in Nani's own words, not been in touch during his loan spell, does seem to indicate that the player is less than likely to return the first team picture at Old Trafford next season. 

Much of that depends on how Van Gaal develops his formation at United. The Dutchman has tried a variety of styles since taking over last summer, but few have allowed for offensively-minded wingers. Often looking to employ three at the back, Nani is incapable of providing the defensive discipline needed of the wide players in such a system, while when Van Gaal does go with a 4-4-2, it is with a midfield diamond.

But with Angel di Maria failing to hit the heights hoped for following his big-money arrival, Van Gaal may yet be tempted to swallow his pride and return to employing traditional wingers, giving the likes of Di Maria, Adnan Januzaj, and possibly Nani, more opportunities in their favoured positions.

Knowing the headstrong nature of Van Gaal, such a thing is far from likely to happen while United are still in contention for Champions League qualification, but Nani's future at Old Trafford may hinge upon it.

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