Portugal and Fenerbahce forward Luis Nani has signed a three-year deal with Spanish La Liga side Valencia for around £7M. The former Manchester United man has turned his fledging career around following positive showings for his country in Euro 2016, and is likely to remain at the Mestalla Stadium past his 31st birthday.
A Valencia statement read: “Valencia Club de Futbol have reached an agreement with Portuguese international Luis Carlos Almeida – ‘Nani’ – for the player to join the club for the next three seasons.” Nani scored 12 goals in 46 games for the Turkish club, impressing a lot in the Super Lig, but has been keen for a return to a club with higher European stature.
For Portugal this summer, Nani has been operating as more of a striker alongside Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, and has flourished with his ex-United teammate. Still boasting explosive pace and showcasing a good eye for goal, Nani still has plenty to offer in his advancing age and could prove to be a bargain for Valencia in the coming season.
The 29-year-old was linked with Premier League side Stoke City this summer, but has opted for the Spanish La Liga which will perhaps be physically easy to combat. His form was always sporadic in England, and given Stoke are a side still on the periphery in the top-flight, a move to Valencia while Nani’s still in favour makes sense from a career progression point of view.
He’s still got international duties to worry about, however, with his Portugal side facing Wales at the Stade des Lumières in Wednesday’s Euro 2016 semi-final. Nani is expected to retain his starting place in the attack, having scored and created three goals in five games, while proving himself as a reliable frontman.
For Portugal, he’s hit the target with 38% of his shots in the tournament, and has shown a new dimension to his game by becoming more of an aerial threat (10 headed shots). Valencia might juggle where best to play Nani as he has impressed as a makeshift striker, but would likely need a partner to hold up the ball and work attacking moves with.
Two-footed, capable of whipping balls in from wide areas, while being comfortable to come inside and create scoring opportunities for himself or temamates, it’s not hard to see why Valencia have signed Luis Nani from Fenerbahce this summer, but whether or not the gamble works will be answers in the coming campaign.