First Team News

Why selling Nani would be a huge mistake for Manchester United

If you’ve been reading the papers lately, you will no doubt have seen the rumours linking Nani with a January move away from Old Trafford, the latest rumour being that Arsenal are preparing a £20 million pound bid for the man born in the Cape Verde Islands. Whilst whether or not United would be prepared to sell Nani to one of their rivals – that’s if you still count the Gunners as rivals of course – is another matter, it does appear that the Portuguese international is on his way out of Old Trafford. It’s been claimed that a run of poor performances at the start of the season – any poorer than our other wingers? – and his ongoing refusal to sign a new contract worth £90K a week (he purportedly wants £130K a week) as well as a training ground bust-up with youngster Davide Petrucci has led Sir Alex Ferguson to call time on his United career.

Officially, Nani is injured according to the manager. I say officially because forgive me for being cynical but when he limped off in Braga, he certainly didn’t seem to have picked up an injury that would keep him out for as long as it has done and so it’s no surprise that many United fans are wondering whether Nani’s played his last game for the Reds. The majority of United fans seem apathetic to say the least about Nani leaving the club with few openly saying that his sale would be a bad move (it most certainly would). Indeed, many United fans seem only too happy to see the Portuguese international leave the club. I’m sure you’ve all heard the criticisms of Nani: “he’s far too inconsistent” or “he’s too selfish” or “he never chooses the right option”. I think it’s fair to say Nani is possibly the biggest scapegoat at United; when United don’t win a game fans like to jump on the Nani-bashing bandwagon. I was unfortunate enough to encounter one of these fans in a Twitter spat earlier in the season. Having stated my belief that it would be a huge mistake for United to sell Nani and that, other than Ronaldo and Messi, I couldn’t think of a better winger than the Portuguese wideman, someone tweeted to tell me that Nani “can’t cross and doesn’t commit his men.”

I then asked him to name better wingers than Nani to which he replied by reeling off a long list of inferior wingers to Nani including, among others, Mauricio Isla – who plays right-back more than he does right-wing – and Arsenal’s recent acquisition, Lukas Podolski, who again can’t really be classed as a winger having played as a striker for large parts of his career. Once again I replied telling him that, in my opinion, none of the players he mentioned are better than Nani to which he scoffed that “the irony is that you don’t even need to look outside of Man Utd for a much better winger. A much, much better winger.” Here, he was alluding to Antonio Valencia, United’s Ecuadorian winger. And herein lies the crux of my argument. One of the key lines of the Nani-bashers, and there are many of them, is that Nani is nowhere near as consistent as Valencia, an argument that is spouted as though it’s an unarguable fact.

As Vladimir Lenin once said: “a lie told often enough becomes the truth”, and this seems particularly pertinent in this case. Many United fans regard the ‘truth’ to be that Valencia is a much more consistent player than Nani yet, having examined the stats, they couldn’t be more wrong.

The Stats*

Player Season Apps Goals Assists Goals per game ratio Assists per game ratio Combined number of goals and assists
1 : 4.9
1 : 3.8
1 : 4.9
1 : 3.5
1 : 4
1 : 3.3
1 : 4.6
1 : 3.5
1 : 7
1 : 4.5
1 : 6.7
1 : 6.7
1 : 6.3
1 : 2.5
1 : 6.7
1 : 3.7

*Stats taken from ESPN Soccernet

Antonio Valencia in action for Man United against Fulham


* Nani has a better goals to games ratio than Valencia in each of the last three seasons and also has a better goals to game ratio so far this season.

* The Portuguese winger has a better assists to games ratio in two of the last three seasons.

* Combining goals and assists over the last three seasons, Nani has both a better goals to games ratio and a better assists to games ratio than Valencia.

* In 2009/10, United scored 118 goals in all competitions: Nani was directly involved (scored or assisted) in 16 (14%) whilst Valencia was directly involved in 18 (15%). It’s worth noting that Valencia made 15 more appearances than Nani that season.

* In 2010/11, United scored 111 goals in all competitions: Nani was directly involved in 24 (22%) of the goals whilst Valencia was directly involved in 6 (5%). This time, it’s worth noting that Nani made 29 more appearances than the Ecuadorian that season.

* In 2011/12, United scored 119 goals in all competitions: Nani was directly involved in 24 (20%) of the goals whilst Valencia was directly involved in 21 (18%). Nani made 2 more appearances than Valencia last season.

* Over the last 3 seasons, United have scored 348 goals in all competitions: Nani has been directly involved in 64 (18%) of the goals whilst Valencia has been directly involved in 45 (13%) of the goals. Nani has made 19 more appearances during this period.

* So far this season, Nani has 2 goals and 1 assist in 11 appearances to Valencia’s 0 goals and 3 assists in 13 appearances.

We can deduce from this analysis that Nani’s stats compare favourably to Valencia’s over the last 3 seasons yet as I’ve already mentioned how many times will you hear a Nani-basher remark something along the lines of ‘on his day, he’s excellent but if only Nani was as consistent as Valencia’? The main priority of wingers is to create and score goals. That being said, surely consistency should be measured on how often they create or score goals. And the stats prove that over the last 3 seasons, Nani has both scored and assisted goals on a more regular basis than Valencia. Quite simply, Nani has proved more valuable to the United team as a creative outlet than Valencia.

Luis Nani in action vs Hannover 96

Whereas Valencia’s total reliance on his right foot – it’s genuinely painful to see his one-footedness at times – means he is restricted to playing on the right-wing, Nani’s ability with both feet means he is more versatile and allows to play either on the right-wing – his preferred position – or on the left-wing. In a way, Nani’s ability and willingness to play on either flank does him a disservice at times because when the manager opts to play both Nani and Valencia, it’s the Portuguese winger who has to occupy the left wing. Whilst Nani can do a more than capable job on the left, it’s clear that his best position is on the right. His best spells for United have come when he’s had a run of games playing on the right such as the second half of the 2009/10 season and the majority of the 2010/11 season when he was voted United’s Players Player of the Year. Yet when criticising Nani, fans often don’t take into consideration that in a lot of instances, he isn’t being played in his preferred position; the position where he is most effective.

The majority of United fans seem to allow Valencia much more leeway than they do Nani. It’s clear to see at games; when Valencia gives the ball away or hits a poor cross, there’s barely a shrug of the shoulders yet when Nani gives the ball away or blasts a shot over the bar, fans are off their seats groaning and lambasting him. It’s been widely acknowledged that none of United’s wingers have performed well this season although Valencia does seem to escape a lot of criticism for committing the same mistakes for which Nani and Ashley Young are castigated. I don’t really know the reason for the favouritism afforded to Valencia – maybe it’s because Valencia is seen as more of a team player and is diligent in his defensive duties – but it clouds judgment because Nani is the infinitely more talented player.

The Portuguese international is one of three players – Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie being the other two – within the United squad that are truly capable of coming up with a moment of magic that can decide a game. I’m thinking of his beautiful dinked finish over an onrushing Heurelho Gomes against Spurs in the 3-1 home-win in 2009/10 or the way he plucked Ryan Giggs’s through ball out of the air with his right foot before accelerating away from Pablo Zabaleta and finishing past Joe Hart with his left in the 2010/11 Old Trafford derby. Moments of sheer quality that leave supporters astounded and are illustrative of the talent Nani has.

This is not a direct criticism of Valencia but I struggle to think of times – his winner at Blackburn last season aside – when he has produced moments of as breathtaking quality as the ones mentioned above. The Ecuadorian is the traditional touchline-hugging winger of yesteryear but is generally one-dimensional, some may say predictable. Every time he gets the ball, you can be pretty much assured that he will seek to knock the ball down the line and swing in a cross. Admittedly, he is very good at what he does, there’s no doubt about it. But against a strong quick full-back, he can be shut down as was the case in the 2011 Champions League Final when Barcelona’s Eric Abidal effectively stymied the Ecuadorean or even in last year’s home game against QPR when Valencia was kept quiet by Taye Taiwo. This season, Valencia has been reluctant to take his full-back on, often playing it back to Rafael or one of the midfielders rather than attacking his opponent at pace. Indeed, it’s been Rafael who has provided the greatest attacking thrust down the flanks for the Reds this season – his assist for Rooney’s second against City being a case in point.

So in conclusion, it would be a huge mistake to sell Nani for a number of reasons. Firstly, Nani’s sale would leave United pretty short in terms of options out wide with only two orthodox wingers, Valencia and Ashley Young (and I have my doubts whether Young is Utd-class), in the United squad. The loss of Nani would also probably lead to Sir Alex Ferguson often playing one of Danny Welbeck or Wayne Rooney out wide; a role in which both are wasted and generally ineffective. In Welbeck’s case particularly, playing him on the wing is more likely to hinder his development than help it as has been demonstrated this season.

And secondly, yes, Nani can be infuriating – perhaps more than most at times but the general nature of wing-play means that most wingers are frustrating – but he is still an extremely effective weapon in United’s attacking arsenal. Of the orthodox wingers playing in the top four leagues in the world – Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and the Bundesliga – only Arjen Robben and Angel Di Maria match his stats over the past three seasons. And as the stats prove, he has both a better goals to games ratio and a better assists to games ratio than Valencia over the last three seasons; something worth bearing in mind the next time you hear someone say that Valencia is a much more consistent performer than the Portuguese international. A fit and hungry Nani in the 2nd half of the season could make all the difference for the Reds on both the domestic and European fronts. My advice to United: pay him what he wants: quality costs money and you don’t get many wingers of better quality than Nani (certainly not rumoured target Theo Walcott). The January transfer window could be imperative in determining whether United are able to reclaim the Premier League title or end up finishing runners-up again; quite simply, the loss of Nani would be a huge blow to United’s title aspirations.

Do you agree/disagree with my views? Let me know by commenting below!

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By Sam McHale

Utd ST holder in the Stretford End. Lucky enough to be in Moscow '08, I eat, sleep and breathe football. Hoping - results permitting - to start Manchester Uni this September. You can follow me on Twitter: @Sam10McHale

88 replies on “Why selling Nani would be a huge mistake for Manchester United”

you ignored the fact that Valencia also played as a right-back though.. inasmuch as I don’t want Nani to go (as i prefer him to Young), but using the stats to say he is a more consistent player is false.. you certainly ignored the defensive aspect of both players. Beautiful write-up.

1. You forgot Kagawa is now a UTD player
2. Welbz will not b playing up front any time soon so instead of rotting on the bench, I’ll rather have him get game time + improve on the wing.
3. At 26years of age, Nani should know that you do not try to show-boat in the dying minutes of a game with a 1 goal lead. Nani lost the Capital One Cup game against Chelsea. Nani is 26years old! Not 21… That singular act is enough to prove that there are aspects of his game that will never change. Valencia n Young will never do that… That was the last straw by Nani… Obvious talent but immaturity can be too costly!

Good article though but Nani is a little too care-free for Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United!

Hi, thanks for your reply. Just to counter your points. Firstly I haven’t forgotten Kagawa is a Utd player – he’s not a winger though. Secondly, playing Welbeck on the wing doesn’t help the team. Thirdly, you can’t blame Nani for Utd losing that game.Yes, it wasn’t the right decision to try and beat a man in those circumstances but you win and lose as a team and it may have slipped your mind but it was a wonderful Nani goal that put Utd 3-2 up in that game.

Totally agree with Sam there. Besides, if you are looking to blame an individual for losing that particular COC game, then you should be blaming Hernandez and not Nani. It was not Nani’s giving the ball away that started the attack leading to the penalty, rather it was Chicharito being offside in our own half that started the attack leading to the equalizer.

Woww… So many comments since the last time I was on… Can’t read all now but I see the main negative about Valencia is his predictability?… Ask Ashley Cole about that… As a defender, you know that Messi will use only his left leg, predictable, yet unstoppable… Valencia is an old-fashioned stutter kind of dribbler… I’m not here to defend him though but if predictability is his main achilles heal, I think I can live with that rather than immaturity…

Kagawa can definitely play on the wing.

When Nani was Welbz age, he was nowhere near the level of maturity shown by Welbz… Watch Welbz evolve in the coming years.

I think Nani is arguably one of United’s most talented players but I continue to say that at 26years of age, there are parts of your game which must have been sorted out to cut it at the very top… A coach like Mourinho will pull his hair out if Nani played for him… At 26 years, those little signs of immaturity n poor decision making are still there, then I say they r there to stay!

Rooney was petulant and immature in his early years, watch Rooney now… Even Rafael is showing signs of maturity… Nani has refused to follow suit or has done so very slowly… He scored a goal against CFC, good… I build a house and next day I demolish it? Nothing done there then…

I really like Nani for his undoubted talent and I hope he finds a club that works for him… He doesn’t have to cost United a UCL final game before I know how fatal immaturity can be…

You quote these stats, but you are basically attributing to him the ability that those raw numbers convey, which I disagree with, because he is actually better than that as far as his offensive talent goes. He plays poor crosses and jinks all over the place and loses the ball and, in the case of Chelsea in the Carling Cup, plays for himself and not the team. Sure he has offensive stats, but they should be BETTER for what he is demanding in compensation, what he fails to do defensively and for the team on the pitch, and for the level of talent that he possesses. Sell him on for 20m.

Statistics are like mini skirts, they don’t reveal everything.
I dont want him to leave, but if i had to choose who leave between the two, Nani d be my choice.
Do you expect Valencia to score and assist as a winger when he play RB and how many times he did?

Maybe, but as I point out in the article, Nani is often played on the left wing rather than the right wing when the right wing is his best position. If Nani had played all his games on the right wing, I’m confident his stats would be even better.

R3D D3VIL is spot on. Nani is old enough that he shouldn’t be showboating at times when simpler football would be more effective. Also, even though he can produce moments of excellence, they often come after 5 or 6 times of try and failure. How many times have we seen him take it inside on his left and blast it over the bar, too many, too many more than any other Utd player.

You can’t have stats as such a vital part of your argument when Valencia has played at right back and also, even when on the wing, as you mentioned, Valencia tracks back and defends better. Wingers who can track back are certainly something we need at the moment given our current defensive problem!

There is about 5 or 6 Utd bloggers on Twitter who I see constantly ranting and raving about how everyone else is wrong about Nani and they are right. Are you really saying that the thousands of people who want Nani, and just Nani, out of the club are all wrong and deluded?

He is offering nothing these days. Training ground bust ups, inconsistent performing and a lack of determination isn’t something that we desire from a Utd player.

As for asking for better wingers: Mata, Bale, Hazard, Ozil, Di Maria, Pedro, Ribery, Robben, Silva – can play on the wings.

With Kagawa coming into the squad now and Welbeck providing good use whenever used, we don’t need Nani in the squad. I don’t rate Young but after his good game at City, I’ll let him sit there for another while, Rooney and RVP make any wingers job a little easier.

Sell Nani, use the money to buy another midfielder and move on. He is no longer needed by the club.

The majority aren’t always right, you know. Answer me this: if Nani had played as poorly as Valencia has done so far this season, he would get a lot more abuse than Valencia has done, no? Valencia has played at RB at the most a dozen times and is predictable. Have you ever seen him use his left foot? And sorry if one of a winger’s key qualities is his ability to track back then I think it says it all about his lack of talent in the final third. If I was a FB, I’d much rather face Valencia than Nani – much easier to plan against.

Valencia’s inability to use his left foot infuriates me week in week out, but I had the same problem with Giggsy and his right foot.

As someone pointed out, Nani just doing have the same ooomph as Valencia or Welbeck. 2010/2011 season I was defending Nani, his work rate was good, he possessed more skill than practically everybody around him and he got goals and assists. Unfortunately I think that time has passed. The team is moving on without him it seems. Bringing in players like RVP and Kagawa represent a massive step for us in the right direction, back to the days of a world class squad with depth.

I’m absolutely sick of people saying how Rooney also had inconsistency. Stop comparing Nani to Rooney! Rooney is regarded by many fans and many world class players as one of the best to play the game. His work rate is incredible, when he doesn’t play, Utd don’t play half as well, and his skill and ability to read the game are often second to none. Yes, he had bad patches, but he will always come back ten times stronger than Nani could. He had a slight goal drought in recent times, then starts assisting Van Persie and getting a few goals for himself, along with looking extremely on form in other aspects of his game.

Fair enough if you lads want Nani to stay and still rate his football and are confident in his contribution, but I think it’s completely insane to keep comparing him to Wazza, who’s contribution, especially in the long run, is far superior than practically all other Utd players at the moment, nevermind Nani.


Good article, I agree with you. And to those saying otherwise, he always works hard fulfilling his defensive duties, he is no slacker.

Thank you and yes, it’s a myth that Nani doesn’t work hard. He does a good job defensively. I think in 2010/11, he attempted the most tackles of any player in the squad.

I agree Nani has great talent but I’ve personally had enough of him, opening game of the season against Everton was his worst performance to date. He’s not the sort of character I’d have any patience for, he’s not a team player, and I don’t think he’s good enough to carry as a passenger. His attitude isn’t right and with that being the case I think it’s time to cash in. Good read and well argued though!

As the saying goes “there are lies, damn lies and then there’s statistics”. I’m sorry but the stats do not show how frustrating he is as a player at certain times. He has the most barren of runs that last 5 or 6 games at a time where he hardly does anything but then he has one or two good games where he does really well and you think that makes him a consistent player? I mean honestly, some of the needless things he does. For example, there are numerous times when he beats a man on the wing and turns around to beat him again. What’s the point in that?! If he does manage to beat his man, his final ball is usually very poor.
I acknowledge that you make some very valid and well thought out points but I think it’s just clear to see that anyone who watches Luis Nani can see that he just doesn’t show the same oomph as a Valencia or a Welbeck. Has he fulfilled his potential?
I don’t think he should be sold as he is still an asset and he needs time. If he were to go, he cannot be sold to one of our very own league rivals.

Nani is a much better player than Welbeck, certainly as a winger. And final ball poor? Over the last 3 seasons, he’s had the joint most assists in the PL. More than Valencia, more than Young.

This article pretty much sums my defense of Nani to other fans over the last few years. I honestly feel he is no more inconsistent than any other player in the squad – including Rooney or RVP.
In fact he was our main man when Rooney had his contract ‘troubles’ two years back.
People point to that loss of possession v Chelsea, but but he was involved in what I thought was our best worked goal of the season (so far) in that game as well.
His linkup play with Anderson, Rooney Cleverley, Welbeck and those kinds of gifted sharp passers has been mesmerizing at times.
I can’t understand why we would let him go, when SAF has clearly been trying to improve this aspect of our game in the past 3 seasons.
I guarantee it will come back to bite us if we let him go – whether domestically or in europe

On the subject of who to replace him with, I have an alternative that wasn’t mentioned by either you or that Twitter guy you had a convo with. And that is James Rodriguez, left winger at Porto who can score goals and give assists. Heard of him?

And the one point you didn’t cover here as a reason why I want him out, is because of rumors that he always gets way too cocky after a good performance, which causes him to play worse the next game, true when he’s at the best he’s world class, but that seems to happen more and more rarely these days.

Ferguson was already looking to replace him this summer, first with Hazard and then with Moura, which have demotivated him alot obviously.

So it really is irrelevant to point out all these stats for previous seasons given how the situation is today.

I’ve heard of Rodriguez yes but I tell you one thing: I’d rather keep Nani – someone experienced and who’s proven at the highest level – than spend in the region of £30 million on Rodriguez. As for rumours he gets too cocky, that’s purely what they are, rumours. No-one knows and most footballers tread a fine line between confidence and cockiness.

Ok, but what about Ferguson already planning on ditching him in the summer? That must be demotivating for him. I mean look at his matches VS Everton and Galatasaray for example…

valencia is very predictable in what he does on he wings. He is very limited in his ability, and against lesser sides, it is enough. However, against better defenders, he is much less effective and his play is easily read by defenders. He is a hard-worker who tracks back and defends, but in terms of his attack play, he is far too predictable and 1 dimensional, and lacks any element of surprise in his play. As for Welbeck, he is a clear centre-forward, not a winger. He has not been effective when played on the wings, and is just being played there to give him minutes on the pitch, and he does not contribute much in that position.

BUT, i think that unless there is a dramatic change, either in his relationship with ferguson/his attitude or form, nani will be sold, most probably in the summer though. We should replace him with either james rodriguez or christian eriksen or isco

I completely agree wid u.. he is silly sometimes.. n make stupid mistakes. But the real problem is he keeps getting compared to Ronaldo.. n Nani has not been able to rise to that status. he has havin everythin that a winger requires. but I guess he will go out of club not b’coz of how he plays.. but b’coz the amount of money he is asking for his salary.. I still think even 70% of nani is better than 100% Walcott.

It’s easy – sell Nani (for every one good game he has 5 bad) for £20 million and get Walcott in for £10 million. He’s younger, English and has more potential. At the very worst we’re swapping one inconsistent winger for another (and having £10 million in the kitty / glazer’s pocket).

Once you’re in Fergie’s bad books there’s no argument to be had. Beckham, Stam, Keane, RVN, Tevez, Heinze to name a few. United has maintained its world-class pedigree and trophy-winning tradition after these sales, and Nani won’t be any different. Unfortunate that the timing didn’t work out with Hazard! Theo certainly not the answer.

Having said that you don’t think AY is quite United quality (I agree), I’d be interested to know if you feel the same about Welbeck up front? Just doesn’t cut it for me as the first team regular that he’s been this campaign.

Cheers, keep it up!

Thanks for the reply. I agree that it’s virtually impossible to get out of Fergie’s bad books and that’s I why fear he’s on his way out.

On Welbeck it’s a difficult one. He’s certainly not a winger and playing him out wide is a waste of time for both Welbeck and the team in my opinion. But, he does a decent job up front, can hold the ball up, fairly quick, harries defenders as you saw in the build up to the winner on Sunday. But I agree I don’t think he’s got the quality required to be a starter every week. He’s obviously still raw and should still improve but at the moment I don’t see him ever being more than a good squad player to be honest. I really hope he proves me wrong though because I love his commitment, desire and fight for the shirt – it obviously helps he’s a Manchester lad as well.

Thanks for the reply Sam. I think Welbeck only stays at OT as long as SAF. The kind of driven player that he likes to nurture but surely better deployed as a primary attacker at a midtable club, as shown by his above average loan spell at Sunderland. I agree that he has all the qualities that you outlined, but you’d play Chicharito over him any day in United’s system. Definitely wish all the best for him though, great kid.

Go Skins!

Oh, very nice article i must say, at last someone is on the same page with me, young and valencia are nothing to be compared to nani, most of our opponents do confess that they are always afraid of rvp,rooney and nani, but hardly would they mention young or valencia’s name,him been unpredictable alone is a threat cos defender wount see him coming, take it or leave it,whats the difference between £90k and £130k that we cannot spare, give him this money, and see the best of nani, having a contract issue is enough to demoralize ones game and yet he is always given little time to prove himself when the whole world is watching and anticipating for him to make a mistake so they can axe him. We are human, he deserve a second chance,believe me, hell will break loose if fergie should sell him and the question ”IF I HAD KNOWN” will forever continue to hunt us.,

of course u said true i am one of the nani fan the way he play is so fantastic my advice is that man united should not sell luis nani because its a absolutely mistake they should give him no 7 back first thing is that we should look at man united team start from eric catona to over more how many player has wear man united no 7 , nani first maichel owen sign for man united cristian ronaldo wear no7 , nani should be next player no7 before they give it to owen after they now give it to valencia , man united should find solution to keep the attacking winger because is a totally mistake if united sell nani

nani is in fergies bad books because he is selfish, far too inconsistent and gives the ball away way too muc, so many moves break down when the ball goes to him and time and time again he could of just layed the ball off to someone else. to say that once your in his bad books is wrong, nani has had plenty of chances and obviously there comes a time when you dont get any more! if he had changed his play he would be in the team ahead of valencia who is a far better team member than nani. you seem to overlook that its a team game and you simply cannot put together a team based on stats unless you are playing championship manager. if it was that easy, you would be united manager!
i agree that the right back argument is not valid as he has not played enough games for that to be the case, also nani is far better on the right than the left, but to leave out valencia would be crazy in my opinion, and thankfully the managers too!
nani, like ronaldo many years ago has lots of ability, more than most, but the often annoying ronaldo grew up and learnt when to and not to pass shoot or dribble, unfortunately nani has not. hes too good to be a sub, and if he moves to another team and plays right wing will probably do well as long as he has not got competition for a spot with a man as good as valencia.
i also disagree that nani doesnt track back, he does. but valencia often tracks back and wins the ball back as well. ask ashley cole, (if you could:) who he would rather play against and i bet it would be nani.
valencia has had his first run of bad form just recently ( was poor in the derby game the weekend) but the boss will not drop him on a temporary loss of form. nani is consistently inconsistent and unreliable, if you cannot see that then you watch a different game to me!

Thank You!!!I totally agree.Luis Nani is among only 4 players capable of changing a game by their lonesome..grabbing a game by the scruff of the neck..moment(S) of magic.The other three are RvP,Wayne and Kagawa.
Take the norwich game,valencia’s crossing was off and even after young was shifted to the right,the crosses were way better but bassong and co. Dealt with everything in the air.The game needed someone to cut in,instigate quick interplays of passing and dovetail with RvP and hernandes but neither the ‘consistent’ valencia nor ‘hardworking and mature’ young could make anything happen for and point for Nani

@ joshua- give him a 2nd chance? are you joking, the 2nd chance passed years ago, i’d say he is on about his 20th chance and maybe past his last!
as for giving him a 130k contract, well, if you have a player like valencia who in my opinion and the bosses and most other reds is better and getting paid less than the 90k a week that nani is currently earning, how on earth does a sub playing second fiddle to him deserve a rise at all, never mind 130k. he should be asking for a new contract on less money until he can prove his consistency, which i doubt very much would happen!

Thank you!!!Finally someone who sees the bigger picture.Luis Nani is hands down one of the four players capable of winning a game/producing MOMENTS of magic/making something happen/taking a game by the scruff of its neck all by their lonesome.I believe the other three are RvP,Wayne and Kagawa.
A good example is the game against norwich.In that game valencia’s crosses were off.Ashley young was later shifted to thr right wing and his crossing was way better but Bassong and co. dealt with everything in the air.The game needed direct incisive play,intricate passing,one twos,someone to maybe cut in and dovetail with RvP and Hernandez…something ‘consistent’ valencia CANNOT offer and the ‘hardworking’ Young has not shown this season.A casing point as to why Nani cannot be sold.

Have our wingers really become so sub-par that we have to compare Nani with Valencia and Young to justify letting Nani stay? They are all quality wingers, but neither of them can hold a candle to Giggs, Ronaldo, Beckham or Best. There is a reason why United are interested in Rodriguez, Isco, Zaha, Ince, Sterling and even Walcott. There is a reason why United were desperate to buy Lucas and Hazard. Two players who will probably regret turning United down within the next couple of years. Wingers have pretty much been the cornerstone of United’s attack since… well… forever. Neither of our current three wingers are good enough for United. What separates Valencia and Young from Nani though is their work rate and willingness to help out in defence. Statistics doesn’t tell the whole truth. Nani can have two amazing games in a row, then completely disappear for the next five games. Furthermore, he’s not enough of a team player, often makes idiotic decisions, holds on to the ball too long, showboats when he should do the opposite, loses interest too often, misses too many crosses and has had so many Hail Mary shots I lost count ages ago. Yet he is still better then Valencia and Young. That doesn’t mean he should stay in the team. Trust me, Ferguson will buy two or three new wingers WAY before he strenghtens the central midfield. But when Nani has his day, he is as good as Messi and Ronaldo. He really is. Too bad that day isn’t as often as we wish it would be. On another note, United’s future within the next couple of years are looking incredibly promising. Powell, Lingard, Petrucci, Tunnicliffe, Brady, Cole, Wootton and the Keane brothers are only a few of the immensly talented young players that are sure to sement United’s future as one of the best teams in the world for the next decade. There’s something special about this season. Ferguson has barely started to rebuild his new team and yet United are starting to show signs of the invincibility they showed between 2006 and 2009. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ronaldo showed up in a year or two!

Another key example is the league game against Chelsea.Towards the end of the game,Valencia was put clean through on goal,one v one with the keeper and he shot way was as if he was aiming for the corner flag…a chance Nani would have put away to make it 4-2…and it just goes to show that once teams/opposition right backs counter Valencia’s pace,power and crossing,he has nothing more to offer the team offensively…nothing to fall back on as a plan B in his arsenal of skills…the net result of such a scenario is that Rafael has to instigate something,leaving us open to a counter-attack or the right wing becomes a dead-zone offensively for us.

dead zone?
although statistics dont always tell the whole truth, statistics say that most of our chances and goals come from the right side rather than the left, and besides, valencia can cover rafael a lot better than nani would dont you agree?!

Another example is The game against galatasaray…stats showed that Valencia gave the ball away 30 times more than any other player in the champions league that week while in the same game Nani created 5 clear cut chances,more than any other united player yet fans were a lot more frustrated with him esp b’coz of the missed penalty.Seriously fellow united fans…bigger picture.
Did I mention that in pre season Kagawa Trusted Nani with the ball than any other player?Yes they actually pulled off 7 quick passing interchanges against barcelona…more than any other player…says something doesn’t it?

Thanks Mike, that Galatasaray game is a perfect example of what I was getting at in the article about fans’ favouritism to Valencia. Like you said, Nani was the best attacking player on the pitch that night yet recieved the most criticism because he missed a penalty. If Nani gives the ball away or has a bad game, all hell breaks loose, if Valencia does the same, hardly a murmur. It bewilders me.

I concur 100 percent with the statistic, nani Ȋ̝̊̅§ not just better than vanlencia but also better than all epl wingers, why on earth do pple reject better things,just as they did to Jesus know very well he Ȋ̝̊̅§ our savior,comparing hazard or any other player expect for messi and ronaldo c. Is personal do Ÿ̲̣̣̣̥ø̲̣̣̥u̶̲̥̅̊ blame him against chlesea i̶̲̥̅̊n̶̲̥̅̊ carling cup. What happened to the defence im perticular about wootoon, or are Ÿ̲̣̣̣̥ø̲̣̣̥u̶̲̥̅̊ all blind. Nani Ȋ̝̊̅§  was never faustrating. Every players have their moment of poor play even messi . Its all about team work. ⌣»̶·̵̭̌·̵̭̌✽̤̈̊Ŧђɑ̤̥̈̊п̥̥̲̣̣̣kƨ̣̣̣̇̇̇̇✽̤̈̊·̵̭̌·̵̭̌«̶⌣ sam say

Oh…I also share the view that he’ll come back to haunt us if we do sell him to another club…I mean…remember what he did to Djorou in last season’s clash with Arsenal??We do not want to be on the receiving end of that…trust me guys.

Sell NANI and regret Ȋ̝̊̅t big time . He will come back and hunt you. Dont forget pique.even walcoot can never match NANI.walcot as never being able to beat pass man utd defence then what makes him good or better. But KING NANI as distroy all defence just name it. Including barca. If NANI Is being sold  will be happy for him.cos it will be a stepping stone  a greater hight for KING NANI.skilful fearless And tour To defenders. LONG MAY YOU LIVE. KING NANI

Tankz sam,ur article makes sense.many jst keep roaring at nani nd neglect the fact dat he doesnt play @ his favourite right wing,nd does nt get games like valencia. Do u think val.can play the left wing like nani?he cnt even give a short pass with the left foot. I mean if all manutd wingers were like val.who would play in odd positions when injury problems evolve?
Though nani fuckups @ times we shouldnt neglect, no player is above mistake. Nani cnt be compared to walcott,welbeck. Recall that there r only 2 wingers in europe that match his stats. Fergie should keep him bcos am very certain he’ll be very influencial in helping united win the e.p.l.
I think and agree that selling nani would be a very big mistake. Tank u sam.

I capitaly agree with u that Nani shoud not live Man u nw,cos,out of all wingers that we possessed in the team,non can be compear to Nani,though they also have their own work doing for team,but,i think Nani superb them,becos,the guy is very skillful&always create problem for the opposition&his also a threat to the big rival in EPL,like Chealse&all others in the world,almost all chealse don’t want to see him playing against them,becos they know that he will authomaticaly create problem for them,i think Fagie should retain the guy,becouse his talented&gifted,i will not be happy to see him out of Old Trafford at all.

I totally agree.Each player be it Wazza or even van persie has his highs and lows.Lets not condemn Nani coz form is temporal n quality is permanent.Lets not forget what Nani can do on his day.He is a world class player.Let sir Alex make use of Nani consistently n guys you will surely believe in him.

Definitely Ashley Young aint united-class ! He only gets lauded cause of his work ethics ! Nani beats more players on the pitch certainly! -even superior to Valencia …he completes more crosses -only Valencia can better that ..scores more goals compared to Young/Valencia …even creates more assist than the both of them! Yet he’s the scapegoat whenever we losing! Its a pity some fans do not see his talent! On his day “Nani’s right foot his second to only Ronaldo’s” ! Somany fans have forgotten Nani’s scintillating and dazzling perfomances in the 2010/11 season! Just so many but a few! If I had the option of selling any of united’s winger …has to be Ashley Young! If we do sell Nani certainly there’ll be gloom!

good article but starts do not reveal the whole play.anyways valencia and young are not united quality at all.they offer no dynamism or unpredictability 2 our attacking play.valencia crosses a dozen times and rarely finds a utd player .young is like a castrated animal.he has no guts nor talent and guile 2 play 4 any top 4 team.its so annoying 2 know that young is much better paid than nani,possibly bcos he is english.As for the likes of wellbeck,they offer nothing.soon will end up at sunderland etc where his fellow average english players do.imagine if nani,valencia and young are in the market who will go 4 a higher price.its a shame that nani is not valued at utd.well infact utd with its average players is just an average team compared 2 d likes of barca,madrid and bayern.its time fergie call it quit cos his judgement is so apalling.

seriously….i value nani than any other winger in the squad cos his trickery are quite natural and classic….he can beat any full back in the league with his bags of trick

I don’t think this article is meant to bash Valencia. The point being Nani can still be a valuable member of our team.

Having said that I hope he hasn’t played his last game for United already!

First off, Well written article, as most of your are 🙂

Secondly, the point I agree with, is Nani possesses more actual quality than most wingers/attackers around, there is no doubt he has completely single handedly won games for us.

Where I disagree to an extent is that your stats are excluding 2 very important elements (especially considering the style of football we are moving towards) and those are:
1: passing accuracy
2: loss of posession

These are 2 areas where I do believe Toni V will have superior stats.
Where I think alot of Mancs get frustrated with Nani is (especially this season) his waste of final 3rd possession… terrible crosses, bad simple passes and taking on players and loosing the ball.

Toni V still has work to do on his crossing, but for the most part, he doesnt give the ball away nearly as much, and if/when he does he generally works very hard to get it back (hence United fans lee-way when he does give it away)

Have a look in the next game how often Toni V eigther gets passed his man and gets a cross in, or at least wins a corner…also see how many times he gives the ball away with a bad pass or being caught in possession…you will see my point here…this is the consistency i feel people may be alluding to.

We are clearly working towards a gameplan which is focusses on ball retention, possesion and fluidity… Nani often counteracts this but trying too much, being lazy or just simply not doing something that a world class winger (which he is) should do 85% of the time…and that is put a cross into the box that beats the first man.

Nani is a world beater…but he also has a big attitude and lacks maturity (Cup game earlier this season is case in point)
I hate the idea of selling top class players, but I do love the vision of what we are trying to achieve in terms of a playing style…and this is why im actually open to the idea of a sale, provided we do replace him with a proper wide player (id actually like a natural lefty)

Question for you… Keep Nani, or sell him for 20, and buy a player like James Mclean and have considerable change to invest in a CM next summer?

Good article 
There is only one problem – SAF is evaluating the players over several things and the most important ones are their technical ability and mentality. It is clear that Nani has excellent technical skills and they help him to deliver a lot of goals and assist for us, but he is also one of the most erratic players that we currently have. It is happen often in the past the Portuguese to have very awful game and still finish with an assist or even two. It is considerable risk for the manager and the stats show that it is well paid. But when such a player come and ask the gaffer for salary equal to the top players – the problem appears. Nani got a big talent, but hi is a squad player and is missing the mental strength to be more than that.

Brilliant Article!!! Just What Iv always Xpectd2c, Hope He Stays, cos Come d end of d Season… All critics will become His Die-Hard Fans… Fantastic Player – Luiz Carlos Almeida Da Cunha…

i think it would be a big mistake selling nani. If you noticed he has a brilliant understanding with kagawa, also on his day is probz our best winger. However he can frustrate the living hell out of fans more often than not that boy. How is young paid more than nani? Thats crazy. Should get one more chance (as many as he’s had) just one more if not sell the boy!

Man united hav moni to luk 4 any player we want i dnt knw y we ar goin 2 sall Nani, nani is a good player bt same times nani 2 da like to du over carry, nani is a gud united player dat can mover on with a ball,let us luk 4 another key player bcos season is nt a two weeks

Tijani,you just dropped a pile of crap 😮

That said,I think Nani should go. He’s obviously having a bad game due to his contract issues which questions his commitment to the club. he’s in it TOO much for the money. I see him play for portugal and he’s always giving 100%. He’s a good player,yes,but he is so not committed at the moment and it could cost us a lot of games (a la Chelsea league cup). Hopefully we could replace him with James Rodriguez

yeah, i agree with you, Nani is one of the best wingers in the world, i think he is having one of his bad days of which he will recover from very soon.

i like Nani very much and Man Utd shouldn’t risk selling him.

Nani is wonderful and so valencia. both of them have their own pro and con. i think its quite harsh to say that valencia is not good enough as united always changing their style of play. And for nani, maybe he is not getting much time to play lately. but i’m proud that united has both of them !!

Woww… So many comments since the last time I was on… Can’t read all now but I see the main negative about Valencia is his predictability?… Ask Ashley Cole about that… As a defender, you know that Messi will use only his left leg, predictable, yet unstoppable… Valencia is an old-fashioned stutter kind of dribbler… I’m not here to defend him though but if predictability is his main achilles heal, I think I can live with that rather than immaturity…

Kagawa can definitely play on the wing.

When Nani was Welbz age, he was nowhere near the level of maturity shown by Welbz… Watch Welbz evolve in the coming years.

I think Nani is arguably one of United’s most talented players but I continue to say that at 26years of age, there are parts of your game which must have been sorted out to cut it at the very top… A coach like Mourinho will pull his hair out if Nani played for him… At 26 years, those little signs of immaturity n poor decision making are still there, then I say they r there to stay!

Rooney was petulant and immature in his early years, watch Rooney now… Even Rafael is showing signs of maturity… Nani has refused to follow suit or has done so very slowly… He scored a goal against CFC, good… I build a house and next day I demolish it? Nothing done there then…

I really like Nani for his undoubted talent and I hope he finds a club that works for him… He doesn’t have to cost United a UCL final game before I know how fatal immaturity can be…

Spot on, i cannot see how anyone can deny nani’s faults and claim that he should play reularly…..really dont get it!
he has arguably, as much talent if not more than ANY player in our squad…..but unfortunately only uses it for one game out of 4 or 5…….simply not good enough im afraid.

thanx bro for enlightening most of us here, something that most of utd fans have not taken a critical thinking abt, that losing Nani wld create trouble for utd cz as the situation is right now, the team can`t rely on these 2 esp Young whom l strongly believe is not utd`s class. non of our wingers has bn consistant this season, not even Val who l think has `t faced much criticism pertaining his current form so wat is most important ryt now is to get Nani setttled in terms of his contract & then give him chance to wrk on his job thereafter- he is such a world class player who can change the game at any tym, imagine if we are to rely only on this one- footed Valencia, wat wld happen if that ryt side z really blocked, giving him no chance to escape, wld we expect good results that day? who knows- maybe Fergie has the answer but this is certainly wat forces Rafael to overlap too much ( ofwhich everyone is aware of the consequences). we need Nani pliz

Okay, I need to set something very straight here…

1) Justifying Nani’s stay at Manchester United by comparing him to the current wingers at United is very wrong!… In truth, if United must return to the creme of European football, all the current wingers will be at best squad players. I do not think there is much separating all the wingers at United. I initial comment was based on comparison with other players around Europe.

Reus, Goetze, Muniain, Asamoah, Hazard, Ribery, Silva… Do those names ring a bell?… Sure they do… These are players in the business of football, not show-business…

I will not lose sleep if Nani, Young or Valencia leaves United because I know that there is talent out there. I take on Nani because this article is about him. If there was an article about Valencia and Young, I will put them in their place too, which is on the bench of Manchester United at best. The entire mid-field has been crying for an overhaul for years now and that includes the flanks.

If Nani stays, no problem… If he goes, no problem… He is not good enough to lose sleep over.

We must all be grateful to Sir Alex Ferguson for always playing to the strength of his teams. This team cannot play ‘football’ against the Barca’s, Dortmund’s and Madrid’s but with Fergie at the helm of affairs, United is very capable of beating these teams without playing ‘football’. How long will this continue?… I personally want to enjoy watching United play ‘football’ again, when United controlled games and dominated possession. Never happens these days against quality opposition but United win!.. Thanks to Sir Alex Ferguson

This is ridicluous!
Are you forgetting that Valencia had a career threatening injury during this period?
With three consistent seasons under his belt he would be absolutely miles ahead of Nani, which i think he already is as he is, a far more complete player.
Funny you dont have stats like tackles, headers won etc work rate – Tony V would blow him out of the water and thats why hes a class United player.
Nani is good when its goin for him but when its tough he spits his dummy out and i would take him to the airport myself for getting £20m for him!!

@R3D D3VIL…I totally agree with your argument….we cannot justify Nani’s stay by bashing into Valencia or young…we/fergie knew full well what their strengths and weaknesses were.That being said,the wingers/attacking midfielders you’ve mentioned above are all but un-affordable..some of them have become revelations to their teams/managers within the past season or two..others are untouchable and will probably not be sold.There’s talk of James rodrigues,first of all Porto will definitely rip us off and theres always the chance that the kid will not adjust or live up to the price tag and the pressure that comes with it.
And yes,none of the current crop of wingers at united are vintage class united wingers but I saw that we are getting linked to Theo Walcott who I believe is hardly an improvement on Nani.The thing is we have to work with what we’ve got and Nani is the best of the bunch in my opinion but we dont see that because we judge him by a different standard due to the immense potential that he no doubt possesses and on immense ability he has shown glimpses of.

leaving nani to go is abad idea better if nani is given the salary of 130000 which he wants to play good football and return to form,remember that the team used 25 million euro on his purchase

R3D D3VIL u hit the nail right on the head…twice! Spot on mate. Now that’s a true story of the United team at the moment. We simply don’t dominate big teams anymore,even Tottenham make us shiver at times! And I think the best way to tackle this problem is to sort out the midfield…that’s the best way to dominate teams. Carrick could be a hard worker but he’s no keeper of the ball. Cleverley is ok but he should be coming on in the second half when points are safe. He’s learning and needs to be at his best to play the biggest of games. We could get Sneijder,Cleverley could learn off him. I know u’d bring up Scholes as his mentor but the dude’s past it (in terms of holding the ball and beating men),so u see what I mean? Midfield sorted,99% of our possession problems solved

My only main concern is his development. His passing is at times horrendous. He certainly cannot develop himself as a player and as a professional. Look at Ronaldo. I know Ronaldo is Ronaldo but you would expect being in the same team and national team with Ronaldo he could have learnt more. At least half of what Ronaldo is at the moment. So for me Nani is currently OVERRATED. Sorry

Thanks for all the replies. A few points I’d like to raise. A lot of you state Nani has a bad attitude and doesn’t do his defensive work. What do you mean by bad attitude? You can rarely fault Nani for effort in games, he’s one of the few players who when we’re behind is someone who is ready to take a risk to get the team back in the game.
On his supposed lack of defensive work, this is a complete myth. Nani works hard defensively – I’ll point you to this article with the stats from the 2010/11 season:
It may surprise a few of you but you can see Nani attempted the most tackles of any player in the squad that season and also contributed to the most goals. We wouldn’t have won the league that year without Nani; there’s no debate to be had there.
Some of you are talking about potential replacements. Nani’s far better than most of the players mentioned such as Walcott. Rodriguez is a young guy playing in the Portuguese league which is not the highest standard so there’s no guarantee he’ll do the business at Utd. I’d much rather have Nani who’s experienced, done it in the big games and at the highest level.

Top article Sam, confirms what I have been saying for many years. Nani along with RVP, rooney and potentially Kagawa is the only player capable of winning a game with a piece of real quality. It is a complete myth that he is any more inconsistent than any other member of the squad and my only frustation is that with his ability he in not challenging Messi for the ballon ‘dor. The comparisons with Valencia are embaressing and just emphasise why the squad is so average, hearing comments he is the best crosser in england are laughable and his stats are completely misleading – firing 15 crosses per game into the box are going to result in him gaining a reasonable tally of assists but the ones easily cut out are never accounted for as a giveaway of possession in which Nani is constantly criticised for. Compare Welbecks performances this season in comparison with his successful breakthrough season just gone and the it becomes clear that Fergie must shoulder more than half the blame for Nani and Andersons lack of game time since their 07/08 season. Since his injury vs Braga the league performances have not exactly been free flowing and away performances against Villa and Norwich emphasise that relying on Valencia and Youngy for the rest of the season in the increasingly likely event that Nani does leave; show the struggle ahead and are unlikely to have any at the Camp Nou quaking in their boots. Viva Nani.

well its clear who the boss likes in his team anyway, thats all that matters, lol
you nani lovers must know better eh?!
we probably will never know but im sure if a poll was taken most of the players would prefer valencia over nani too.

A weird and naive way of thinking. It’s really old fasioned IMHO to only judge a winger by his ability to create goals. It’s like saying that chicharito should play instead of wazza for his goal/games ratio. Nowadays, the attackers defend and the defenders attack on a diffrent rate. Valencias contribution defencevly copared to nanis is huge. Being a creative player, nani also get’s the ball more than the likes of tony, but he also loses the ball on a way to high rate. Al credit to Nani for his ability to create goals, and at that he is, as you say, one of the best around. But in the modern game that’s not enough. Even if I am not a 100 percent sure, I truely believe that we win more games with tony on the pitch rather than Nani. Having said that though, I much prefer Nani to Young, and I think we shoul lose him before tossing out nani.

Nani’s only problem is that he isn’t the “Next Cristiano Ronaldo” .and people hate him for it .,he is far better than Valencia or Young .He is outrageously talented ,if we Man Utd fans don’t see it ..who will?

Looks like Nani is the latest in a long line of Utd players to be shunted after getting on the wrong side of Sir Alex. Nani is inconsistent but when he is at his best he is world class – a rarity in the current squad.

Agree wholeheartedly that he is one of only 2/3 players in the team who can turn on the magic out of nowehere and make a difference in a game. We will miss him against the top sides who have Tony V’s number. Valencia is a tryer, good at what he does but he comes up short against the elite – I thought he may have gone after the performance he turned out against Barca at Wembley.

Nani won’t be the first or last player with plenty left to offer who is cast aside at less than market value for upsetting the boss. Shame that he will be leaving before Anderson who is far more inconsistent yet seems to get a pass.

And please Fergie – NO THEO WALCOTT. Would be terrible to see Nani swapping places with that dudd.

I think Nani is really good with his skills but the decisions he made, alot of times will just frustrate the one watching the game especially when the team is trailing! We could have done alot better if his decision making is better.

Getting Theo Walcott is fine, but i doubt he will want to share the playing time at Utd. So he wont come unless the money offered to him is generous enough. Theo would have to share the playing time with the likes of Kagawa,RVP,Rooney,Valencia,Young,Welbeck!!

And if Theo does come, please don’t let Nani move to London, i always believe “Old Boys bite back”!!

plc Sir Alex keep Nani. Jst give him what he d.serve n he will be back to his best. then no one will touch manchester united.

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