Nani's starring role in Manchester United's 2-1 FA Cup win over Reading has done nothing to convince him that he has a future at Old Trafford, with his omission from Sir Alex Ferguson's squad at Real Madrid last week a crushing personal disappointment.
The 26-year-old winger is understood to have left a meeting with Ferguson two weeks ago convinced that he would feature in the Champions League tie at the Bernabeu, having assured the manager that he felt fit despite having started only four matches in three months. His exclusion from the squad only reinforced his determination to leave at the end of this season, despite the new contract on offer to extend his stay beyond the summer of 2014.
Nani is also understood to view the signing of Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace as another sign that his United career, which began with his £25.5m arrival from Sporting Lisbon in July 2007, is over. It will clearly take an integral role in the last third of United's season to convince him that he should accept the new deal. Ferguson said after Nani helped secure a potential FA Cup quarterfinal tie with Chelsea on Monday that his display might present a selection headache.
Sources in Portugal say Nani will not be a makeweight in any deal despite suggestions that Porto's James Rodriguez may be of interest. A return to his home country would mean taking a substantial pay cut, which he would not take midway through his career.Russian clubs Anzhi Makhachkala and Zenit St Petersburg are likely to be interested in him but it would take a substantial six-figure salary to lure him there, rather than Italy which is his preferred destination.
Anderson, who has also struggled to forge a United career since arriving at the same time as Nani for £27m, said the problem was where to go next. “The only places you could go to from here are Real Madrid and Barcelona,” he said. “You can't have another choice. The level at Manchester United is so big and so massive. You come here and you are definitely going to win titles.”
The 24-year-old Brazilian dismissed reports that he almost left the club on three occasions, having made 63 Premier League appearances in five years, but he admitted that holding down a United career was difficult: “It is hard because there are 25 players here who can play for any team in the world.” – The Independent