Portuguese winger Nani has confirmed he will return to Manchester United when his loan deal with Sporting Lisbon expires at the end of the season.
The 28-year-old, whose £120,000-a-week wages are still being paid in full by the Red Devils, is poised to return to Louis van Gaal’s squad this summer following a successful season with Sporting.
Nani joined Sporting - his first professional club - back in August as part of the deal which saw Argentina international Marcos Rojo move in the opposite direction. Few expected Nani to ever player for Manchester United again, but the inconsistent winger has impressed in the Primeira Liga this term and could be handed another opportunity to shine by Van Gaal in pre-season.
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Nani admitted that, at this moment in time, he is fully focused on helping Sporting win the Portuguese Cup - the final will take place at the end of next month - but says he will return to his parent club after that.
"I'm a United player," he told Portuguese website Sapo Desporto, "I always have to go back, but then we'll see."
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Nani's future could depend on Depay
With Van Gaal reportedly keen to secure the services of Netherlands international Memphis Depay, a player similar in many ways to Nani, there’s every chance Manchester United will look to find a permanent buyer for the Portugal international.
But Van Gaal may want to take a closer look at a player whose form and confidence has returned since his temporary move back to Sporting.
Nani has scored 11 goals in 30 appearances this season, four of which were netted in the Champions League group stages, and when on top form there are few better wingers in European football.
But inconsistency and fitness issues have been a problem for Nani, who made a combined 22 Premier League appearances for United over the course of the 2012-13 and 2013-14 campaigns.
United will struggle to find a buyer for Nani
It seemed Nani was in desperate need of a change of scenery to reboot his career - and that’s precisely what he appears to have done at the Estádio José Alvalade.
But at 28, and with plenty of other attacking options at Van Gaal’s disposal, there’s a real possibility Nani has played his final match for Manchester United.
They may, however, encounter a problem finding a buyer. Nani still has three years left to run on his contract and will be reluctant to take a pay cut on his astronomical wages.
Manchester United fans: should Louis van Gaal give Nani another chance next season? Have your say in the comments below!