Updates from Wednesday, Aug. 20
Manchester United will continue to pay Nani's wages in full during his season-long loan switch to Sporting.
Nani has been used as bait in United's bid to capture Marcos Rojo, and Sky Sports' Bryan Swanson provides details on the deal Sporting have negotiated:
Portuguese winger Nani rejoined Sporting Lisbon from Manchester United on Tuesday, heading to the Portuguese capital on a season-long loan switch as part of the Red Devils’ capture of Marcos Rojo.
As Jamie Jackson of The Guardian revealed, the terms of the Argentinian’s move to Old Trafford means that Nani will go the other way for a season, returning to the club that raised him through the youth ranks and into the first team.
The club’s official Twitter account revealed the news, welcoming the 27-year-old “home” for 2014-15—translated by journalist Jan Hagen:
The Portugal international signed a new, five-year contract with United in September last year, though it was a deal that had many fans scratching their heads.
While a talented winger who has contributed immensely to the club’s cause in the past, Nani hasn’t managed to impress in the famous red shirt for many a season now.
Such has been his form that chances have been few and far between at United for Nani, and when they have come around, he hasn’t exactly taken advantage, as OptaJoe’s statistics show:
With first-team football looking guaranteed at Sporting for the winger, United will hope that he can return to his best before seeing out the remainder of his lucrative contract at Old Trafford—finally showing his best once again.
While there are some fans that will be disappointed with seeing Nani leave the club, manager Louis van Gaal now has the license to bring another winger in—as sports radio DJ Pilib de Brun remarked:
That’s something that the Dutchman wants to do, too, as he recently told the Sunday Mirror that the club’s lack of quality out wide is a concern—per Sky Sports:
“At this moment, we have five No.9s and four No.10s—and we don’t have wingers to give us attacking width. Or, I should say, we don't have wingers of the highest level, like (Cristiano) Ronaldo or (Angel) Di Maria or somebody like that.”
Di Maria himself reportedly remains a distinct possibility to join the Van Gaal revolution at United, particularly with Nani heading out—per Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail—and such a swap would have fans’ mouths watering.
Time will tell how Nani takes to life back at his first professional club, but from a Manchester United perspective, nothing but positives can come out of the transfer.