When Luis Nani first signed for Manchester United in the summer of 2007, much was expected of the Portuguese winger dubbed the 'next Cristiano Ronaldo'. But, seven years after his high-profile arrival in a reported £20 million deal, the 27-year-old leaves Old Trafford under a cloud, having failed to make anywhere near the kind of impact that had initially been expected.
His departure, a footnote in the player-plus-cash deal that has brought Sporting Lisbon defender Marcos Rojo to the Premier League, has been suitably understated given the number of seasons he flattered to deceive in England.
Aside from an impressive run of form in the 2010/11 campaign that yielded a return of ten goals and 14 assists, the attacking midfielder has arguably been one of Sir Alex Ferguson's most disappointing ever signings.
Great potential, but little end product. Six words that best describe a player that has for the best part been infuriatingly inconsistent - a far cry from the fine form shown by Ronaldo, the predecessor that has constantly cast a shadow over Nani, even after his world-record transfer to Real Madrid in 2009.
Flashes of brilliance don't tend to live long in the memory, particularly when such rare instances are dominated by disappointment, the most recent example being Nani's inept impact as a second-half substitute in the opening day defeat against Swansea City on Saturday.
Perhaps that was the moment that Louis van Gaal decided that he could get by without a player that has contributed a meagre 25 goals in 147 Premier League appearances.
It's a shocking return for a first-team star that earns around £125,000-a-week in wages, thanks largely to the questionable decision made by David Moyes to reward his fellow Manchester United flop with a bumper new five-year contract last summer.
Waste of money
The financial hit will still be felt by the club during Nani's season-long loan spell with Sporting, after the Red Devils agreed to pay 100 per cent of his salary for the duration of his stay at Estadio Jose Alvalade - an agreement that will cost them around £4.8 million.
Nani's return home where he first made his name as a professional footballer might not be a permanent transfer, but it's unlikely there is any way back for him in Manchester having finally been let go this summer.
Whilst Sporting supporters continue to celebrate the capture of a former favourite, Manchester United fans will be hoping they've seen the last of the serial underachiever, and pray that history doesn't repeat itself with Rojo at Old Trafford.
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