Filling the void left by Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure was never going to be an easy task, but with a comparable upright style, similarly rapid stepovers and a reminiscent penchant for powerful ranged shooting, this should be the season for Nani to step up and show that he can replicate the feats of his compatriot.
So, how is the Cape Verde born winger living up to this seemingly arduous task?
Admittedly, replacing an £80 million galactico is not easy but Nani carries himself so similarly to Ronaldo that comparisons are all to easy to make. But Nani is currently falling well short of the expectations placed upon him.
The problem is that all too often Nani flatters to deceive. His feet look fast and tricky when in possession, but then he runs straight into the full back’s tackle. When he does cut inside and find space on his favoured right foot, his shooting is too often too wayward. This point was highlighted in Manchester United’s win at Stoke on Saturday.
A highly frustrating first half display showed no signs of improving after the interval and his manager reacted quickly, sending on trusty veteran Ryan Giggs to replace the young Portuguese international. In a 35-minute cameo, Giggs created two goals and turned what had been a difficult goalless affair into a relative canter back to the top of league.
So, not a great week for the young man, especially as fans’ frustrations with him were also obvious in the midweek Carling Cup tie with Wolves.
Replacing Ronaldo is one thing, but currently Nani doesn’t even look like he warrants a place in the United first eleven. A serious improvement is required, otherwise the £15-odd million outlay to bring him to Old Trafford looks to be a very dubious bit of business.