Finally, the deal we all wished for came to fruition on Monday.
That’s right, Luis Nani was revealed as the newest superstar to sign for an MLS side, as Orlando City SC detail their intentions to make a run at the MLS Cup this year.
Nani joins the club on a free transfer from Sporting CP, where he appeared in 13 games scoring six goals in last season’s campaign.
He has signed on a three-year deal and will be added to the roster as a Designated Player. This of course, may cause some controversy considering Orlando already boasts three DPs on their roster. However, those three players earn less than the compensation ceiling for Targeted Allocation Money players, which is $1,504,375. Therefore, all three players could be converted into Transfer Allocated Money players. That would free up the DP spot for Nani, according to the MLS Players Association.
The 32-year old winger brings with him bags of experience. Internationally, Nani has garnered over a century of caps for Portugal, having scored 24 times since his debut in 2006. He was also a part of the Portuguese side that won the 2016 EUFA European Championship.
In England, Nani won the Premier League title with Manchester United four times, the FA cup twice and the UEFA Champions League once in the 2007/08 season. In 217 appearances for the club, he hit the back of the net on 40 occasions.
He also found success in Portugal having won the league last season, whilst also winning the Portuguese Cup (Taça de Portugal) in the 2006/07 and 2014/15 seasons.
Ultimately, Nani cements himself as the team’s best player despite having not touched a ball for the team. His pace and creativity will be critical for Orlando.
He can perform on both sides of the pitch, however, he’s best used on the right side.
In addition, his versatility will be key for the team. As well as being a winger, Nani can be utilised in the central forward role, which coupled with Dom Dwyer could be lethal come opening day in March.
The signing is fantastic in all aspects for the club. It will almost certainly drive progress from their abysmal 11th placed finish.
The deal will increase support over the season, whilst also seeing a vast growth in jersey sales. This, for me, has been the premiere deal of the year in MLS and I cannot wait to see Nani feature in purple and gold.