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Nani ready to sign new £125,000-a-week deal

Manchester United are talking with Nani's representatives about a new deal for the Portuguese midfielder, which is likely to be agreed before the end of the season -- and which could make him one of the club's highest earners.

The 24-year-old took time to settle at United and two years ago his future there appeared to be in jeopardy, with Italian and Spanish clubs interested.

Ashley Young's arrival last summer only seemed to add to those doubts despite Nani's contribution in the title-winning season -- he was even named as the players' player of the season.

But Nani has proved himself again in this campaign and, with two years still to run on a contract believed to be for £90,000 a week, United appear ready to improve it -- possibly to around £125,000 a week.

With no apparent problems over the terms of a new offer, Nani may be tied to the club just as United activate the clause in Dimitar Berbatov's contract which would make him a United player until the summer of 2013.

Nani, an £18m buy from Sporting Lisbon in 2007, began this season in particularly strong form and returned to the side for last month's Europa League win at Ajax after being out for nearly a month with a foot injury.

Meanwhile, Rio Ferdinand believes that the team's professionalism is increasingly a factor in their title defence.

United stayed within two points of leaders Manchester City thanks to Sunday's 3-1 win at Tottenham -- a game in which the visitors were defending for much of the game -- and the previous Sunday's 2-1 victory at Norwich, secured with a stoppage-time winner.

"All we have ever said is to keep putting points on the board," Ferdinand said.

"Our last two away games have shown the professionalism in the camp and that has been fantastic. We have to continue that. We have big games coming up. Each game will be like a cup final -- I know that is a cliche, but it is true."

Elsewhere, Manchester United striker Federico Macheda has been fined £15,000 and warned about his future conduct after he admitted making homophobic comments on Twitter.

The 20-year-old Italian, who is on loan at Queens Park Rangers, was charged by the Football Association last month along with the Newcastle forward Nile Ranger, and Walsall's Manny Smith. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent