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Dublin: 8°C Sunday 18 April 2021

Nani's return could cost Manchester United £17m in wages

Louis Van Gaal could be forced to find a place for Nani after he returns from his season-long loan at Sporting Lisbon.

Nani celebrates a goal against Maribor in the Champions League.
Nani celebrates a goal against Maribor in the Champions League.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

MANCHESTER UNITED MANAGER Louis Van Gaal can look forward to another winger joining his ranks at Old Trafford alongside £22m signing Memphis Depay next season, with Nani due to return from his season-long loan at Sporting Lisbon.

United are facing a £17m bill for the remainder of the Portuguese playmaker’s contract at the club because of the £100,000-a-week five-year deal he signed in September 2013 under David Moyes.

Van Gaal did not see a future for Nani at United when he took over last summer and he was used as part of an agreement which brought Argentine defender Marcos Rojo to the club for £16m last August.

With Angel Di Maria, Ashley Young, Juan Mata, Adnan Januzaj and now Depay challenging for a starting place, it is unlikely the unwanted winger has a future at the club.

Source: Gfycat

Nani, who as scored 11 goals in 35 appearances for Sporting this season, has enjoyed a successful campaign but admitted last week that he was planning to return to United. Even if he wished to remain at the Estadio Jose Alvalade, the 28-year-old’s salary is beyond their means.

“The fans asked me to stay, but we all know it’s hard,” Nani told A Bola. “I am very happy to have spent a year at Sporting, but I have a contract with Manchester United and my ambitions are different this time.”

It is unlikely that the Manchester club will want to send him on another loan move but his bumper contract does make it difficult for another club to take him off their hands, leaving Van Gaal with few options other than restoring the player to his squad.

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Donal Lucey

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