Is Nani out of favor at Manchester United? Is he working his way back in? It is hard to say.
It was a crucial match, one that saw United blast the German side 5-0 to secure a berth in the knockout stage. Nani scored the fifth goal. Perhaps this was a sign that manager David Moyes was warming to the Portuguese winger?
To recap, then: Nani played the entire match and scored in a wildly successful Champions League shift. Four days later, he was deployed as a time-wasting substitute in a match where United lost more ground in the Premier League table to the three clubs at the top (Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City).
No wonder news and transfer rumours swirl around Nani. United and Moyes cannot seem to decide what to do with him.
You have to admit, acquiring Sneijder could solve a few of United's problems very quickly.
Tuesday, December 2
Per Ben Jefferson of the Express, "Manchester United will return for Sneijder in January having missed out with a £6 million bid for the 29-year-old over the summer."
Rather than increasing their bid, United are apparently looking to entice former Premier League champion manager (and now Galatasaray boss) Roberto Mancini with a package of Nani and Antonio Valencia.
"Galatasaray's new transfer policy sees them trying to become younger and more home-grown but they could make an exception for Nani, 27, and Valencia, 28," Jefferson added.
The same report conceded that a complicating factor would be Galatasaray's need to move at least one other foreign-born player to comply with Turkish Football Federation rules if they add Nani and Valencia.
It seems like overkill to move Nani and Valencia to get Sneijder, doesn't it? Wouldn't one of them get it done?
Tuesday, December 3
As reported by Liam Prenderville in the Mirror, Nani, Marouane Fellaini and Ashley Young recently showed the world "what they have to offer in a funny 'trust test' challenge for the club's Bwin channel" which was also posted to YouTube.
Check out the video for yourself above. The first question this viewer had—a cinder block building and artificial turf? They look like hostages.
At one point Fellaini "sporting a helmet becomes a 'Target Man', as Nani and Young attempt to avoid him by hitting six zones, designated around his body."
It is fun occasionally to see the lighter side of big-name players. But this was sort of tame. Not once did any of the players seem to hit the ball with anything approaching full force.
Of course Manchester United would not risk getting any of these men injured in this little exhibition. It felt like they could have done more with it, though.
Juventus are having a hard time accepting the fact that United do not want to let Nani go.
December 2, 2013
If you did not know better, you would think from following the news outlets that Juventus were the only side in the world interested in acquiring Nani.
But these days, it is all Juventus all the time where Nani transfer scenarios are concerned.
According to tribalfootball.com, "Juve are in the market for a new wide signing in January and Nani is the priority for coach Antonio Conte" and "will offer Mirko Vucinic in part-exchange" to push United closer to making the deal.
Of course, the report concludes by suggesting that "intermediaries close to both clubs are pessimistic" about United having sincere interest in this proposal.
No matter. Juventus have at least the rest of December to come up with another idea.
"This is our last dance. This is ourselves. Under pressure."
Monday, December 2
Manchester United manager David Moyes wants Nani to produce his best football every time Nani appears, not merely when Nani deigns to try.
As reported by Adam Marshall on United's website, Moyes observed that "I think what I've seen from Nani is someone who is a talented player, a Portuguese international, and I hope we can try to get him to show that more often."
In case either Marshall or Nani missed his point, Moyes reiterated it with all the subtlety of a brick through a plate-glass window: "His shooting with both feet is almost as good as anybody I've ever seen. He's incredibly talented with his skills and ability. We need to get him to show that more often."
Unfortunately, all of Nani's exertion against Bayer Leverkusen did not translate into a start against Tottenham Hotspur four days later.
Baby steps and all that.
Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you.
Monday, December 2
After Manchester United manager David Moyes' comments about Nani's need for consistency appeared on the club's website, Nani wisely chose to address them in a positive, agreeable manner.
What Nani actually thinks is anyone's guess.
As for what he said, the Irish Independent affirmed that Nani "is not worried about the number of times he has been overlooked."
Quoting Nani himself, the report recited the player's insistence that "the important thing is what I am doing at the moment, not the past. I didn't play in a couple of games but I just want to focus on the future."
Nani even gave appropriate lip service to the old practice-makes-perfect saw.
"I am happy with what I am doing on the training ground. I want to continue to work hard and I am ready to play in the games and help the team fight for trophies," Nani professed.