Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes Manchester United winger Nani has rediscovered his motivation at Sporting Lisbon and will use that to 'relaunch' his career at Old Trafford.
Nani, 27, rejoined his boyhood club this summer on a season-long loan as part of the arrangement that saw Marcos Rojo join United in a deal worth £16m.
United's desperation to offload the Portugal international was evident in their willingness to pay the player's entire wage for the year – reportedly £4.8m. Despite signing a new five-year contract at the club just over a year ago, United's decision to hand new signing Daley Blind Nani's old shirt number 17 would indicate a return to the club is unlikely.
However, Mourinho, whose Chelsea side host Sporting in their Champions League group clash on Tuesday, believes Nani now has the renewed impetus that could see him force himself back into Louis van Gaal's plans.
"It must be in special circumstances," Mourinho told Record when asked about the Manchester United player. "Without wanting to enter into areas which aren't my own, it will have been the consequence of the transfer of Rojo to Man United.
"What counts in practice is that Sporting have a player of great quality in the best years of his career. Perhaps his aim is not to stay at Sporting until the end of this career, but to relaunch it and return to Man United. He must be very motivated in this new spell.
"Normally, players want to play without losing money. Sometimes there are two situations which aren't easy to reconcile. There are always great players who want to leave because they are not playing. The problem is knowing where to and with what conditions.
"There are clubs which pay part of the salary. In this case, Man United had a new manager wanting to restructure his squad, a lot. I presume there must have been interest from the club in Nani leaving.
"If the player benefits from that, I don't know. If Man United have benefited from that, I don't know. If Sporting have benefited from that is absolutely certain."
Nani scored his side's goal in Sporting's first group game of the competition a fortnight ago in a 1-1 draw away to Slovenian champions NK Maribor.