Manchester United has offloaded a winger who was a high-priced failure. And is also not Ángel Di María.
Who? You win a prize if you guessed “Nani,” because he became a forgotten figure at Old Trafford. That’s a strange status considering Nani played for Portugal in last year’s World Cup, is one of that country’s most-capped players, and cost Manchester United $28 million (in today’s money) back in 2007.
Per the Guardian, Nani’s agreed personal terms with Fenerbahçe, who’ve offered only 5 million euros as a transfer fee. At the time of writing, that’s $5.5 million, but depending on what happens with Greece’s debt crisis, it’s possible that the euro will be worth slightly less than a Zimbabwean dollar in a day or two.
It’s a weirdly low amount for a player who’s only 28 and had a successful spell on loan at Sporting Lisbon — where he began his professional career — last season, scoring 11 times. But he only made seven league starts and four substitute appearances for United in 2013-14, and the same amount in 2012-13.
Though he was a first choice for most of his time at Old Trafford, as an exciting and expensive young Portuguese attacking midfielder, he was always going to trail in Cristiano Ronaldo’s wake in Manchester. But, like Wesley Sneijder did from Inter Milan in 2013, he’s leaving a major European club in his late 20s for Istanbul at a cost that would have seemed unthinkably low only a couple of years earlier. (Seems like Turkey’s emerging as a possible waypoint between Big European Club and MLS/Australia/Middle East, for stars who are fading slowly.)
Of course, there were the injuries. Ultimately, though, for all his talent and promise, Nani fell into the inconsistency trap that is a winger’s curse: if he wasn’t brilliant, he was crap.