Manchester United: 5 Reasons Red Devils Shouldn't Sell Nani in 2013
Sports fans can be a fickle bunch, and football supporters tend to heap pressure on their stars, automatically comparing their current squad to the legends of tomorrow.
For Manchester United players, that’s some expectation to live up to.
Although the Portuguese winger has had his good times at the Theatre of Dreams, the Old Trafford faithful have come down hard on Nani when he isn’t performing.
Unfortunately for him, the 25-year-old is currently going through a rough patch that every player can see from time to time.
Calls have been made for the player to be sold in either the next January or summer transfer windows, with the Daily Mail even going as far to say that Nani was allegedly close to joining Zenit St. Petersburg over the summer.
These claims are far from warranted however, and Nani has as much of a chance of succeeding in the red of Manchester United as anyone else.
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Originally coming to England from Sporting Lisbon in 2007, Nani’s background and style of play saw him immediately likened to international teammate Cristiano Ronaldo.
The winger may not quite have lived up to those sorts of comparisons, but there are few who could in this world.
In his own right, Nani has become a tried and tested talent for the club, winning three Premier League titles and a Champions League crown during his time there.
In his first season under Sir Alex Ferguson, Nani racked up an impressive 42 appearances and has since gone on to average 40 matches per campaign.
Wingers can be particularly susceptible to injury it seems, and while Nani has seen his fair share of time on the sidelines, he has stayed largely healthy during his time at Old Trafford.
During his five seasons as a Red Devil, Nani has done what a wide man does best and made more than 70 assists, equaling an average of around 14 assists per campaign.
Despite the claims regarding the attacker’s inconsistency, those numbers would seem to point towards a player that contributes on a huge scale.
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Manchester United have never really been a club to struggle in attack, least of which in the last 20 years. However, that sort of strength in depth would usually attribute to their wealth in striking options.
For some time now, Ferguson has utilised the wings to great effect and continues to do so in his tactics, of which Nani is a great component.
However, if the Portuguese player were to leave, how much cover is really ready to step in?
Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia are the only other out-and-out wingers at the club, while Ryan Giggs can play in the role, but it may be asking a lot of the Welshman at the age of 39.
Of course, the likes of Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck, Shinji Kagawa, Nick Powell and others are all capable of performing out wide, but a manager wants his players playing in their optimum positions.
A club like Manchester United can obviously bring in replacements, but Nani is a player already at the club who wouldn’t require any period of settling in, making him the more logical option.
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While you’d like to think it’s a talent that any player earning tens of thousands of pounds a week has in his locker, it’s surprising to see just how many professional footballers aren’t proficient when using both of their feet.
In that essence, Nani is extremely gifted on either foot and is more than happy to parade down either flank, making him a very valuable commodity.
A long-range specialist of sorts, you can see videos of the 25-year-old smashing home off of his left or right foot, making him an especially useful asset.
Ambidexterity is an attribute that can be very difficult to come by in its purest form, making Nani indispensable when resources are running dry.
Yet to Hit His Prime
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With advances in technology, medicine and all-around personal health, our athletes are more finely tuned than ever before and are seeing their careers prolonged like never before.
As things stand, it’s thought that a player enters his playing prime between the ages of 27 and 30, when they’re fully matured in their development and produce to their finest quality.
Nani is still only 25 years old, and, while the flamboyant trickster has shown himself to be immature on occasion, he has the perfect manager mentoring him if he’s looking to improve upon his weaknesses.
The speedster has a number of years to go until we can really expect the best of Nani’s career, and it would be bad business to let him leave Old Trafford before seeing him enjoy his best form elsewhere.
Time of Transition
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After relinquishing the Premier League title last season, many a Manchester United fan would agree that the club are coming down from the back of a very successful Noughties and are now experiencing a passing of the torch.
The retirements of stars such as Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville have and will hit the club hard in recent years. The performance of the club in last season’s Champions League was testament to the opinion of a shift in power.
So, the question is whether or not Manchester United can truly afford to sell any player of such talent, no matter how frustrating he may be at times.
Stringing top quality form together is something that’s often difficult to do at the elite level, but at least Manchester United’s maestro has shown glimpses of that type of form in the first place.
Sure, the final product isn’t always there and showmanship may sometimes come in front of logic, but Nani is an undeniable talent and one that United need amongst their ranks.