Orlando City is looking to finalize a deal that’ll bring former Manchester United winger Nani to Central Florida, a league source confirmed to Pro Soccer USA.
The deal isn’t done yet, but Nani would join Orlando City from Sporting CP in Portugal, where he made 18 league appearances this season, scoring seven goals to go with four assists.
Multiple Portuguese outlets first reported the news of Nani’s departure from Sporting. Paul Tenorio from The Athletic reported Nani will be brought to the club as a designated player.
Orlando City already has three designated players in striker Dom Dwyer and midfielders Josué Colmán and Sacha Kljestan. According to the MLS Players Association, all three players earn less than the compensation ceiling for Targeted Allocation Money players, which is $1,504,375, so all three players could be converted into TAM players. That would free up the DP spot for Nani.
“I think that we’re going over scenarios,” Orlando City executive vice president of soccer operations Luiz Muzzi told Pro Soccer USA before the MLS Scouting Combine.
“Different scenarios. What happens if, what happens if this guy comes, what happens if, you know? There’s been talk [of restructuring contracts], yes. There’s been talk. Is anything going to happen? Tough to say right now because if this domino falls here then everything else falls the other way.”
Nani, 32, fills a need on the wing for Orlando City. In 230 appearances for Manchester United, Nani scored 40 goals to go with 73 assists. Orlando City has been in need of a true attacking threat on the left wing since the departure of Justin Meram, who the team traded for prior to the start of the 2018 season and then traded midway through the year.
The Portuguese winger scored 25 goals to go with 56 assists in 147 Premier League matches in his time with Manchester United and has been capped 112 times for the Portuguese national team.
The potential signing would make real on Muzzi’s goal to sign a “a veteran, good, recognizable name.”