Nani can still have a future at Manchester United, says Alex Ferguson

 

Sir Alex Ferguson has discussed for the first time the struggle he has encountered in persuading Nani to stay at Old Trafford, admitting that he has not been able to provide the guaranteed first-team football the player is demanding.

The Manchester United manager described the Portuguese, who was superb in his side's FA Cup fifth-round win over Reading on Monday, as "without doubt one of the best match-winners in the whole of Europe". But as The Independent reported on Tuesday, the 26-year-old's stellar display has not altered his pessimism about his United future, which was magnified by the blow of being excluded from the 18-man squad which drew away at Real Madrid last week. An exit is likely this summer, when Wilfried Zaha arrives from Crystal Palace. Arsenal may renew their interest, with money at their disposal.

"[Chief executive] David [Gill] has been speaking to [Nani's] agent for quite a few weeks now," Ferguson said. "It's up to the boy himself. He's got a year and a half left, I would prefer to keep him to the end of his contract. But I think he wants guaranteed first-team football. But he can guarantee that. His performance the other night can guarantee that. We're trying our best because he's such a match-winning player."

The manager said the winger's limited game-time – after a two-month absence with a torn hamstring which he underwent treated for in Dubai and Portugal – had contributed to his decision not to play him in Madrid, though it is over a month since he returned to the side. Ashley Young also had to be accommodated, Ferguson said. "You are better playing players who have plenty of match-play behind them if you have to make a substitution," he said.

Ferguson said Wayne Rooney will not play at Queen's Park Rangers tomorrow after a severe sinus infection which he contracted on Saturday morning prevented him training until this morning. Rooney has been on medication since Saturday, while Phil Jones has also only an "outside chance" of being fit to play at Loftus Road.

Paul Scholes will be back this season, Ferguson claimed, but he has been sent to a specialist for treatment on a piece of muscle tissue which has found to be floating within his knee.

Ferguson expressed "surprise" that a "young man" like 55-year-old United chief executive David Gill wanted to leave the helm of the club to take up a position on Uefa's executive committee.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)