Arsenal signing this £100k-a-week Man United star would be nothing but foolishness and Emery must avoid this

Arsenal opinion: Should the Gunners sign Antonio Valencia?

According to the Daily Star, Arsenal are surprise contenders to sign Manchester United skipper Antonio Valencia in the summer. The Ecuadorian is set to leave Old Trafford after a decade at the club as United rejected the opportunity to trigger an additional year in his contract.

Hector Bellerin’s long-term injury has forced Unai Emery to play Ainsley Maitland-Niles at right-back and although the youngster has done brilliantly well, it is an area that Emery would have to address in the summer, especially with the backups being Carl Jenkinson and Stephan Lichtsteiner.

However, a deal to bring in Antonio Valencia does not make sense and with the former Wigan Athletic winger turning 34 in the summer, it would just be another Lichtsteiner situation for the Gunners.

Although much has been pointed out about Arsenal’s defensive frailties, the right-back situation is arguably well covered.

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Even if Lichtsteiner does leave at the end of his contract, Arsenal will be left with enough options at right full-back and an addition, especially of a 34-year old with fairly high wages will be an absolute waste.

Hector Bellerin should recover from his knee surgery by the start of next season and although the Spaniard is still only 23 years old, he is hugely experienced with over 180 senior appearances for the Gunners in all competitions.

Unai Emery’s second choice in that position is Ainsley Maitland-Niles. The full-back position is in no way his natural position but the 21-year-old has done a fantastic job on both sides of the defence over the last year or so.

Maitland-Niles even scored a crucial header that put Arsenal 2-0 up against Stade Rennais in a must-win game in the Europa League and his versatility is a boon to Emery.

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In terms of academy players, Unai Emery has an absolute gem in his hands with young defender Julio Pleguezuelo. The 21-year-old has played both as a centre-back and as a right-back, and is highly rated.

The Spaniard currently captains the Gunners’ under-23 side and has a goal and an assist in 14 games in the Premier League 2 this season.

Unai Emery’s final option would be to extend Carl Jenkinson’s contract. The 27-year-old, who was a part of the infamous Arsenal British core, has had multiple loan spells in the last few years.

The full-back has performed well in his 7 games this season and doesn’t deserve to be let go at the end of the season.

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Unai Emery has a number of better options at right-back than Valencia and signing him in the summer would be a foolish move. The soon to be 34-year-old will not offer anything more than Arsenal’s current options and his addition, although on a free transfer, makes very little sense.

Arsenal should not pursue their interest in the £100,000-a-week Ecuadorian and should look to invest that money elsewhere.


Written by Shamanth Jayaram

24-year old Electrical engineer turned football writer, born and brought up in Bangalore.

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