Manchester United winger Nani has struggled this season and has not signed a contract extension with the Red Devils. While these are factors that often precede a player’s exit, Sir Alex Ferguson is making a wise decision by refusing to sell the 26-year-old during the January transfer window.
Ferguson expressed his unwavering support for Nani to Simon Mullock of The Daily Mirror and said the following:
Nani’s contract isn’t up until the end of next season – and we need him. He offers something different from the other players we have. He’s got an incredible talent, but, unfortunately, he’s been injured… But Nani has got a future here. Why would I want to let him go?”
The winger’s nagging hamstring injury is a likely reason for his lack of production. If he is able to return to the form he displayed in the previous two seasons once fit and healthy, Ferguson’s decision to hold on to him will be completely vindicated.
Although he has just one goal and one assist in seven Premier League appearances this year, he had 17 goals and 24 assists combined in the previous two EPL campaigns.
Sir Alex is completely correct when he discusses Nani’s talent, and he will provide a boost to United’s already potent attack once back on the pitch.
In the team’s current position, it simply needs to maintain its form instead of taking risks to improve it.
The Red Devils are currently seven points ahead of second-place Manchester City in the Premiership. While United is facing an extremely difficult test against Real Madrid in the Champions League, it is highly unlikely that selling Nani would result in a situation that would allow the team to make a drastic improvement.
Mullock puts Nani’s rumored price at £10 million. While young players such as Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha may be available for a similar price as a replacement, as The Guardian’s Jamie Jackson notes, the youngster does not have the experience or proven track record that Nani possesses.
Zaha would not be a drastic improvement over Nani in the immediate future, and other high-profile targets will be overpriced in the January transfer window. £10 million will not be enough to offset overpaying for a player in addition to losing one with productive years left in him.
Ferguson hints in Mullock’s article that he will not be making any moves in January, and this is the right strategy for the transfer window that is now open. If a smart signing does happen to fall into United’s lap, it should act. But that is unlikely.
The team should focus instead on holding onto its players, and that includes keeping Nani until at least the end of this season.