Date: 14th May 2009 at 7:32pm
Written by:

Luis Almeida da Cunha, alias Nani, arrived at Old Trafford in the summer of 2007 with full of hope and optimism. He was purchased from Sporting, the team which provided us with a certain Cristiano Ronaldo. Great things were expected of him.

And, to me, he did not disappoint in his first season. He was dangerous on the wings, his corners brought about 4-5 goals, he had absolutely excellent games (Arsenal in the FA Cup, most notably) and he scored a number of brilliant goals (the ones against Spurs, Boro, Liverpool stand out).

But something went badly wrong during this campaign. It might simply be second season syndrome but the fact is that Nani resembles a poor Championship player more often than not. Some say he did not get enough chances, that he barely played: well, that was because he did not play well enough. Time and time again he got his chance and time and time again he failed to deliver – much like Carlos Tevez until the game against Spurs.

His dribbles don’t come off, his crossing is woeful, he just about seems unable to do anything right. Now the rumours question whether he’s got a future at the club and with Wigan’s Antonio Valencia – who excelled against us yesterday – looking certain to leave his club and join United one must ask: where does it leave Nani?

Park was preferred to him this season, just as last season he was selected ahead of the Korean for the Champions League final. If Valencia arrives as well and we keep Cristiano Ronaldo (or buy a Ribery or a Silva as a replacement) then I can’t see Nani staying… which would be a shame as I was excited after his relatively excellent first season.

Does he miss Carlos Queiroz, the tutelage of the man who recommended him in the first place? Possibly – indeed, some say that’s at the root of Anderson’s inferior displays as well. But at least Ando got his act together and is now a key member of the squad again, an almost certain starter against Barcelona in the absence of Darren Fletcher. Meanwhile, Nani must worry about whether he’ll have a place on the bench… which is sad.