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Has Nani Penned New Deal?

This new ‘development’ has been gnawing away at my brain for the past day and a half. So let’s get rid of it right away once and for all.

Apparently, going by some papers, Nani has penned a new contract that will see him at Sporting Lisbon till 2013 with his get out clause now raised to around £20 million from the earlier £7 million.

Now this news had actually originated from Tribal Football. At least that’s where I saw it first. But a little bit of Googling led me to this piece on which starts off thusly:

Manchester United will have to rethink their plan to approach Sporting Lisbon about Nani and Atlético de Madrid have been priced out of the market after the player penned a new contract with the Portuguese club.

And it goes on about how his buy out clause has gone up, and so on and so forth. Now I searched for any kind of sources that might test the veracity of the article but couldn’t spot any. Until I saw another article on Sky Sports’ official website. Now that might be credible, I thought, until I came upon its content which went like this:

Manchester United will have to rethink their plan to approach Sporting Lisbon about Nani and Atlético de Madrid have been priced out of the market after the player penned a new contract with the Portuguese club.

And this went on without a single noticeable change in wording, so my doubts still persist. The Sporting Lisbon site, although in Portuguese, didn’t have much on Nani. (You would expect headlines on their site if he were to renew his contract.)

Now this is what I believe could have happened. Atletico Madrid is linked here, so definitely that bit’s got to be from the Spanish press. Although it beats me why Atletico, of all the clubs, has to be linked instead of bigger clubs like Real and Barcelona. Honestly, for all their history and claims of being a massive club, they are the Tottenham of Spain. The contract bit could be the result of some lazy journalism, the kind that relies on Tribal Football to provide the news. It is disappointing that sites like (which I thought was reasonably credible) and supposedly respected sites like Sky Sports, do not cite their sources while giving out news.

While some sites, just like tabloids in the print media, have become infamous, it is easy to regard their ‘scoops’ with a pinch of salt. But when sites like Sky report them on their pages, it makes people believe their speculation. That’s where things can get messy for the parties actually concerned with the player.

Anyway, that’s my personal grudge against misinformed and lazy journalism, so let’s talk about what this could mean to the club if it were to be true.

If Sporting has in fact managed to tie Nani up to a deal, then their intentions of trying to milk every possible penny off their star player, becomes all the more clear. This is not new to rich clubs like us, Madrid or Chelsea, or even Pool for that matter. The problem is that clubs like Madrid have a reputation of playing hard ball over deals and somehow manage to get what they want at their terms. For Chelsea, it doesn’t really matter. But for us, in recent times we have been fleeced in our deals, paying over the odds at times.

Carrick, although an excellent buy should have come for no more than £12-14 million, tops. Ruud van Nistelrooy should have been sold at a greater price than the reported £10 million we got. Look at what he’s doing in La Liga at the moment. So, if Nani’s release clause is £20 million as the press sees it, we must back out of it. The kid is unproven at the highest level and 20 million is something that we have to throw at some really proven class. For talents like Nani, £12 million should be the maximum. We cannot and should not pay more.

The alternatives that we have are either Franck Ribery of Marseille or Ryan Babel of Ajax. Ribery’s class is well known all around and his versatility in the midfield is invaluable. I wouldn’t mind United paying even £22 million for him instead of Nani. And he is only 23. However I suspect he might be priced out of a move to United by either of the Spanish giants. Arsenal couldn’t possibly price him out, Pool may not yet be the big club that he might want to move to (they are more keen on strikers) and Chelsea at the moment seem to be making noises about curbing their spending. And defence is their priority anyway.

Ryan Babel on the other hand, is a handy young talent who apparently has a £6M buy out clause and seems to be headed for Arsenal. However things could change if United do show their interest and go about their business quietly. Despite being right footed, Babel plays on the left wing or as a striker prompting Marco van Basten to hail him as the new Henry. So will he dive to win match winning free kicks in world cups? We shall see.

So is Nani really worth that much money? Let us know who might fit the bill as far as wingers are concerned.