World Cup Scouting Report: Nani

The Manchester United forward seized upon a defensive error to open the scoring for Portugal against United States but flitted between woeful and wonderful thereafter
By Tom Maston


As consistently inconsistent as you are likely to see, Nani began the evening with a composed finish to kick-start Portugal's World Cup campaign but, from then on, he ranged from woeful to wonderful with regularity.

Misplaced passes and poor touches in the final third were commonplace as he struggled to link up effectively with Cristiano Ronaldo but, given time to shoot, he proved the most lethal forward on the pitch.

Twice he tested Tim Howard following his goal, with the Everton goalkeeper very fortunate to see the latter of those shots come back off the post after he failed to parry effectively, but, with Ronaldo looking to take the game by the scruff of the neck, Nani's influence on the game waned in the second half.

Not noted for his defensive work, the Manchester United star showed his deficiencies at the back as his poor headed clearance fell for Jermaine Jones, who was able to come inside under little pressure from the winger and strike a thundering equaliser.


Given his performances for both club and country, United certainly require players of higher quality if they are to begin to challenge for honours again. It would not be a surprise to see him frozen out under Louis van Gaal and a move to pastures new may well do him the world of good.

Top Premier League clubs would be unlikely to move for Nani given his mediocre record in England and a switch to the continent would most likely suit his explosive style of play.

Juventus have shown an interest and, if they are unable to get hold of Alexis Sanchez, then Nani could provide a cut-price alternative.

Champions League experience, a willingness to run at defenders and capable of a moment of magic - his ability to inject pace into the match would leave most Serie A defences reeling.

If Juve are not interested - and, with Antonio Conte's 3-5-2 system, they see no space for him within their formation - then AC Milan could provide a further option as they look to rebuild after a poor campaign.


Having signed a five-year deal at Old Trafford in 2013, it would seem likely that a move is not on the cards and, with Van Gaal keen to assess the winger before any decision is made, there may well be a role for him in the Red Devils' squad after all.

His agent, Jorge Mendes, spoke to the club last week regarding his client's future and, with the new manager a fan after Nani's performance against Netherlands at Euro 2012, talks regarding what he can offer the team going forward look set to take place after the World Cup.

Having previously turned down a move to Zenit St Petersburg, interest in his services do remain, though it is felt that neither Juventus nor Monaco are willing to offer the £15 million for which United would ask.