Sir Alex Ferguson once again had to deflect speculation linking Nani to a rival Premier League club after rumours surfaced on Betfair suggesting that the Portuguese winger was set to leave Old Trafford this January.
Speaking at a press conference in late December, the Manchester United manager denied any reports linking Nani with both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur and instead insisted the 26-year-old was still part of his squad plans.
“We need a Nani. He offers something different from the other players,” said Ferguson. “Yes he has a future. Absolutely. Why would I want to let him go?”
Indeed, Ferguson does need Nani but as nothing more than a backup player, as better men either develop or are signed in his place. Nani has never fully lived up to the hype that surrounded him when he moved to Manchester in 2007 and had made just 11 appearances for United this season at the time Ferguson was quizzed.
Antonio Valencia, Tom Cleverley, and Ashley Young all start before Nani and all perform to a higher standard when required, stimulating rumours the winger was set to depart this January.
But why should Ferguson sell to a Premier League rival one of his talented assets? While Nani may not be getting games at Old Trafford, he is nevertheless a good player and would improve both Arsenal and Tottenham’s squads; it would be folly for Ferguson to bolster a rival’s team, something he very rarely does.
The last time he sold to Arsenal it was Mikael Silvestre, who turned out to be awful, while Teddy Sheringham was an old man when he was allowed to move on a free to White Hart Lane in 2001.
No, if Nani is to depart United, he will go either abroad or to an English club not challenging for European places. Arsenal and Spurs do right to look elsewhere and not waste their time with a player whose manager would only sell for an over-inflated amount of money.
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