Unwanted Nani's return to leave Manchester United facing £17m in salary costs
Manchester United are facing a £17million bill for the remainder of Nani's Old Trafford contract as the club brace themselves for the unwanted winger to return from a season-long loan at Sporting Lisbon.
United have paid Nani's £110,000-a-week wages during his loan spell as part of the agreement which brought them the Argentina defender Marcos Rojo for £16m from Sporting last August.
Although Nani (above) has enjoyed a successful campaign with Sporting, the club he left for United in a £17m deal in May 2007, the 28-year-old's salary is beyond their means, even before the prospect of a transfer fee might be discussed.
United will complete a £22m deal for PSV Eindhoven winger Memphis Depay, subject to a medical, next month, and Louis van Gaal has made it clear to Nani that he has no future at Old Trafford. Depay adds to a list of wingers which includes Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia, Adnan Januzaj and the £59.7m British record signing Angel Di Maria.
The former manager David Moyes handed Nani a five-year contract in September 2013, so United have been left with an unwanted player who is likely to prove too expensive for interested parties to pursue this summer.
Nani, who has scored 11 goals in 35 appearances for Sporting this season, admitted last week that he was planning to return to United, despite his success at Estadio Jose Alvalade.
"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."
With little appetite at United to subsidise another loan move next season, Van Gaal could be forced to restore the player to his squad unless a buyer prepared to finance a permanent move emerges.
United are also ready to sell Javier Hernandez to another club if Real Madrid turn down an option to make the Mexico forward's season-long loan permanent.
Unlike Nani, Hernandez enters the final year of his Old Trafford contract this summer and United are likely to receive at least £8m for the 26-year-old.
Brazilian full-back Rafael da Silva is also set to be made available, while United are unlikely to take up an option to sign Radamel Falcao on a permanent basis from Monaco for a pre-agreed £43.2m at the end of the season.
Falcao has scored just four goals in 28 appearances for United since arriving at the club last September and his struggles in English football have led to his mother joining the speculation about his future.
Speaking to Colombian newspaper El Espectador, Carmenza Zarate said: "We hope for bigger and better things. God hasn't abandoned us and my son will become again what he has been, a goalscorer. If God shows him a new path, he'll leave Manchester; if not, he'll stay."
Meanwhile, Memphis Depay arrived in England yesterday and announced his intention to become one of the best players in the world.
Speaking just days after his £25m move from PSV Eindhoven to United was confirmed, Depay laid out his ambitions at Old Trafford and his inspirations, including Louis van Gaal and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Depay was compared to Ronaldo recently by Netherlands team-mate Leroy Fer, and it was not a comparison which Depay shied away from.
Rather, he embraced it and said he is aiming for Ronaldo's stature at the very top of the world game.
"I believe I can be one of the best players in the world and I have to dream and believe to achieve that," said Depay at an Under Armour boot launch.
The 21-year-old has had a brilliant 12 months, scoring twice in the World Cup finals in Brazil before being the best player and one of the leading scorers in this year's Eredivisie, which PSV have won easily.
"You just have to work every day on your dreams," Depay explained. "My dreams started with going to the World Cup. When the World Cup was finished, I realised that was not it. I had to do more on the pitch."
Manchester City are to step up security plans for the Premier League U-21 fixture against United later this month following crowd trouble during Tuesday's encounter between the two clubs at Old Trafford, which United won 4-0 in front of more than 16,000 supporters who had been given free entry to the game.
(© Daily Telegraph, London)