Manchester United Transfers: Is It Time for Sir Alex to Sell Nani?

Max TowleAnalyst IAugust 23, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 04:  Nani of Manchester United with the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane on March 4, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

There came a point in Manchester United's recent defeat at Everton where, with a little over 20 minutes left in the game, a corner was won on Nani's favoured left-hand side.

But within an instant, Patrice Evra was on-hand to take it, waving the Portuguese winger away from the set piece.

Seeing this, my immediate reaction was to exclaim loudly: "Thank God—at least this one will clear the first defender."

You see, for all of Nani's attributes and ability, he is surely one of the worst corner-takers in the history of... well... football.

And at that moment, with Evra shooing him as far away as possible from the corner flag, I was glad to know that I wasn't the only person in the world who recognised this.

Make no mistake though, I have long been a fan of the mercurial genius.

Through ballooned crosses and ill-advised headbutts (well, only one), I championed his cause—telling everyone who would listen that he was one of the few X-factors capable of single-handedly winning a game after Cristiano Ronaldo's departure.

When he was rolling around in apparent agony after non-contact tackles or publicly questioning Sir Alex Ferguson's decision-making, I scoffed at the knee-jerk reactions that called for his head (via The Guardian).

Is this another one of those moments?

He was unquestionably the worst player on the pitch in the disappointing loss to Everton—he looked lost in a dense sea of blue, equally impotent on either flank.

There has been a great flood of rumours linking him with a move abroad this week, following the loss at Goodison Park—Russian club Zenit are reportedly in pole position to seal a "sensational move" (via

Has the time come to sell Nani? To paraphrase The Godfather, if an offer in excess of £20 million was made, would the United boss be able to refuse?

I would say, "yes."

Providing there are no Basel-esque slip-ups, Nani will certainly be needed in what will likely prove to be a 60-game season.

And what would be the point in selling a £20 million problem, when there are very few good alternatives on the open market for any less?

If the "Kaka rumour" accomplished anything this week, it was to scare the living daylights out of a good number of United fans (via Fox Sports).

An out-of-shape 30-year-old who commands a weekly wage of close to £250,000 is most definitely not the answer.

The "form is temporary, class is permanent" argument doesn't hold much sway I'm afraid—for £250,000 a week, one could reasonably expect form to indeed be permanent.

Otherwise, what's the point?

So, as unglamorous as it might seem, the answer to the question posed in the headline is "no"—it is not time to sell Nani.

One poor game is not reason enough to justify selling the player who was the club's most important asset the last time that it won the Premier League.

After all, form is only temporary.

(But in the meantime, please have someone else take the corners.)