Jose Mourinho believes Nani is motivated to breath life back into his Manchester United career by having a successful loan spell at Sporting Lisbon.
Nani rejoined his boyhood club this summer as part of a deal to bring Marcos Rojo to Old Trafford for £16.8m and although he will spend the whole season at Sporting, United are paying 100 percent of Nani’s £4.8m wages.
Despite United handing Nani’s No.17 shirt to Daley Blind, which could be seen as indicative of the club having no desire for Nani to return, Mourinho suggests that might not be the case for the Portuguese winger.
“It must have been in special circumstances,” Mourinho said.
“Without wanting to enter into areas which aren’t my own, it will have been the consequence of the transfer of Rojo to Man Utd.
“What counts in practice is that Sporting have a player of great quality in the best years of his career. Perhaps his aim is not to stay at Sporting until the end of his career, but to relaunch it and return to Man Utd. He must be very motivated in this new spell.
“Normally, players want to play without losing money. Sometimes, there are two situations which aren’t easy to reconcile. There are always great players who want to leave because they’re not playing. The problem is knowing where to and with what conditions.
“There are clubs which pay a part of the salary. In this case Man Utd had a new manager wanting to restructure his squad, a lot. I presume there must have been interest from the club in Nani leaving. If the player benefits from that, I don’t know. If Man Utd have benefitted from that, I don’t know. If Sporting have benefitted from that is absolutely certain.”
Nani leaving United on loan was seen by most fans as a pre-cursor to his exit in a permanent deal next summer and given how much attacking talent United have now, Nani wouldn’t get anywhere near the first-team.
There’s a good chance he is motivated to secure a move to a bigger club in Europe but it does seem unlikely United would be willing to bring him back to Old Trafford after being willing to pay his wages in full to let him leave on loan.