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Manchester United transfer rumors: Nani to Zenit?

Nani to Zenit?
Nani to Zenit?

According to a report by the newly branded ESPN FC, Russian side Zenit St Petersburg -- the same club that just tried to essentially buy the entire Portuguese Liga when they purchased Axel Witsel and Hulk for a combined £64 million -- are apparently attempting to acquire Manchester United's Nani for £25 million. Keep in mind that the Russian transfer window closes at a later time in comparison to England. I am skeptical of this though and the report may be relying heavily on this quote from Zenit general director Maxim Mitrofanov:

"It's true we are negotiating for Nani and Moutinho, but Hulk and Witsel were our top priorities."

- Mitrofanov

Even though I'm highly doubtful of Nani to Zenit in this transfer window, I wouldn't be shocked if he left sometime in the near future. There have been continual rumblings of Nani's unhappiness at not always being first-choice and his wage demands over a new contract are apparently quite high. His current contract expires in the summer of 2014.

Nani leaving right now, despite his inconsistencies annoying some United supporters, would not be good for the club -- especially without having a replacement already lined up. If he were to possibly leave in January or next summer, at least Sir Alex Ferguson would have an opportunity to find an adequate replacement. As it is now, Nani is arguably the side's top winger -- his competition being Antonio Valencia -- and he's better than Ashley Young. With Park Ji-sung's departure to Queens Park Rangers, the only other options out wide are Ryan Giggs, Danny Welbeck, Shinji Kagawa, and Wayne Rooney -- all players who prefer a more central role right now. On his day, Nani is unplayable and he's one of the very few players on the current United squad that can turn a match with a moment of absolute brilliance. His departure would deprive us of that while also making us suddenly somewhat light in the wide areas -- a hugely important source of chances created in Fergie's system.