Nani has been linked with a move away from the club ever since his falling out with then manager Sir Alex Ferguson in what was his last season at the club. He was recently the subject of a £6million offer from Turkish club Galatasaray, but the bid was rejected as United are looking for more money for the Portuguese winger. He has been told in no uncertain terms that his contract, which still has 18 months to run, will not be renewed and he will be allowed to leave once the right offer comes in, meaning that it may only be a matter of time before the #17 jersey is vacated.
Antonio Valencia is more of a curious case as he had his worst season in a United shirt last season. He has since recovered and has looked somewhat close to his best for the club. Like Nani, he too has 18 months to run on his contract, and is reportedly one of the lowest earners in the squad. United are ready to open contract talks with him to avoid losing him on the cheap, and this dovetails nicely with his uptick in form.
Can David Moyes and the transfer committee at Old Trafford justify their decision to sell Nani while retain Valencia with hard numbers? Here’s a look.
Looking at the numbers for Nani, he made a total of 11 league appearances last season, scoring one goal and creating 11 chances (2 assists and 9 key passes), a very poor outcome for a player who is touted as one of the best wingers in the league. Defensively, he hardly contributed as well, making 10 interceptions and 6 clearances in those 11 appearances, and had a shoddy 79% passing accuracy.
This season is no better, with the Portuguese making 8 league appearances (W2, D2, L4) to go with the solitary Champions League appearance. He has been marginally better when it comes to creating chances, having created 11 in the league and 2 in the Champions League, and has scored his only goal in Europe. While he has contributed more defensively – 4 interceptions and 3 clearances in the league to go with 6 interceptions and 1 clearance in UCL – he has just 77% passing accuracy in both league and Europe.
Looking at Valencia’s numbers last season, he created 40 chances (5 assists and 35 key passes) and scored 1 goal in 30 league appearances. Defensively, he averaged close to 2 defensive actions per game (27 clearances, 24 interceptions, 2 blocks) and had a respectable 84% passing accuracy.
This season, his numbers show a slight improvement considering some of the woes the team has faced. Valencia has created 17 chances (2 assists, 15 key passes) and scored 1 goal in 17 league appearances while he has created 7 chances (1 assist, 6 key passes) and scored 2 goals in 6 Champions League appearances. He has been more involved defensively too, having made 20 clearances, 28 interceptions, 5 blocks in the league and 8 clearances and 4 interceptions in Europe, and has a similar 84% passing accuracy.
See the verdict and conclusion on next page…