Manchester United winger Nani will receive Sporting Lisbon’s Footballer of the Year award later this month, despite the fact he only arrived at the Portuguese club on loan in August.
The 28-year-old has enjoyed a new lease of life since rejoining the club where he rose to prominence before his big-money move to Old Trafford in 2007, scoring seven goals in 14 appearances this term.
And those 14 appearances have been enough for Nani to beat the likes of William Carvalho and Islam Slimani to Sporting’s top yearly award, according to Portuguese newspaper Record, who have revealed the full winners’ list on their website.
United still paying Nani's wages
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal agreed to send Nani on loan to Sporting as part of the deal which saw defender Marcos Rojo complete a permanent move in the opposite direction. The Red Devils also agreed to pay the winger’s wages in full following a frustrating couple of seasons at Old Trafford.
Van Gaal had hoped to sell Nani in the summer, and a host of clubs - including a couple from Italy - were reportedly keen to sign the Portugal international.
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Nani contracted to United until 2018
But a move failed to materialise because of the player’s huge wage demands. Nani will earn £120,000-a-week from Manchester United until 2018 - providing he sees out his contract - after Van Gaal’s predecessor David Moyes handed the inconsistent star a new five-year contract.
Despite putting pen to paper on that deal, Nani went on to make a disappointing 11 Premier League appearances last season - and played the exact same number of league games in the 2012-13 campaign, Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season at Old Trafford.
As a result of Nani’s fine form this season, though, speculation has been rife that Manchester United want to bring the Portuguese ace back to Old Trafford in January.
Sporting, however, have been reassured that United have no option to terminate Nani’s loan deal earlier than planned. He will stay in Portugal until the end of the season.
But despite his good form, latest reports suggest Van Gaal has transfer-listed Nani, with Sporting unable to finance a deal to bring the player back to the Estádio José Alvalade on a permanent contract.
Manchester United fans: does Nani deserve a second chance? Have your say in the comments section below.