United winger Nani is well-accustomed to seeing his name in the transfer rumour mill. It’s been there pretty much every week for the past year-and-a-half as his future at Old Trafford comes under increasing pressure with every mediocre performance that he delivers for the Red Devils.
It was there just days ago when he was thought to be on the radar for big-spending French club AS Monaco, and it’s there once more. However, this time, it’s there for the right reasons, with the Portuguese international declaring that he will stand and fight for his place in United’s squad this season, desperate to prove once again that he still has a future with the Premier League champions.
“I hope to win the league again and, for my personal wishes, I want to be at my best and score a lot of goals,” Nani told MUTV.
“Like I said, I just need to be at my best and then everything will come together.”
Nani himself will be the first to tell you that the four goals he scored last year in an injury-plagued season weren’t anywhere near enough for a player of his class and calibre. But unlike so many others that struggled last year, the 26-year-old didn’t have the chance to prove himself to new manager David Moyes in United’s pre-season campaign – forced to miss the trips to Australia and Asia due to nose surgery.
He’ll have to wait until the start of the 2013-14 Premier League season to do that.
Last year, Nani managed just 11 appearances for the English champions – his fewest in a single season since he arrived at the club six years ago. He registered just four goals and two assists, and with talented players waiting, his future definitely seems up in the air.
However, there’s little doubting that – at his best – Nani is a world-class winger. There’s little doubting that at his best, Nani can be one of the best wingers at Old Trafford. Despite competition from the likes of Antonio Valencia, England international Ashley Young and new sensation Wilfried Zaha, Nani is more than capable of winning a starting spot in Moyes’ first-team next season.
He has the skills and attacking ability required to justify his selection, and has enough experience in the Premier League to know what is required of him. Irrespective of what he might have produced in an injury-riddled season last year, Nani has proven himself to be a very good attacker on his day, and he should be given another chance to prove himself worthy of that claim.
Judging Nani with claims that he isn’t good enough anymore after one poor season isn’t right; nor is cutting him off from Old Trafford after just 11 Premier League appearances last year.
The winger deserves his chance to stay and fight for his place, and after a sluggish 2012-13 campaign, you’d fully expect Nani to do just that under David Moyes.
He’s not going to be put off by seeing his name in the rumour mill, for it’s been there countless times before. And yet every time, Nani has remained a United player and continued to leave his mark for the English champions – which is exactly what I’ll be tipping him to do in the season that lies ahead.