Nani
Nani has netted six goals this season and is hopeful of winning a return to United.Getty Images

Manchester United winger Nani is buoyant over a potential return to Old Trafford following a season on loan at Sporting Lisbon.

Nani made one substitute appearance for United before returning to the Portuguese capital in August, after making only 14 league starts in the past two campaigns under Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes – a sign of his dwindling influence at the club.

The 28 year old, however, has returned to form in his homeland, netting five times in 13 starts in all competitions, and Nani is optimistic that form can spark a surprise return to United next season.

"Why not? I went out [to Sporting] to play more and get to my best," Nani said after Portugal's 1-0 friendly win over Argentina at Old Trafford. "If there is an opportunity, we will see."

One stumbling block in Nani making a permanent switch to Sporting would be the financial package demanded by the player and United, which has until now put off several of Europe's biggest clubs, including Juventus and Zenit St Petersburg.

Louis van Gaal only gave Nani one opportunity to impress during his spell at United, in the 2-1 opening day defeat to Swansea City, but former Sporting director Paulo De Alvandro says the former Netherlands coach will be itching to recall the player.

"It is inevitable that Manchester United will want the player back at the end of the season," he told A Bola. "Van Gaal will be sorry to not have gambled on him sooner."

Although Nani's form back in Portugal has been impressive, the signing of Angel di Maria, which came after his departure, will make breaking back into the first team a tough prospect.

In his seven years at United Nani divided opinion among supporters, with some still to be convinced over the club's £16m original investment made back in 2007.