West Ham United Opinion: Is Antonio Valencia a perfect Zabaleta alternate?
According to reports from The Sun, West Ham United are eyeing up a possible summer move for Manchester United wing-back Antonio Valencia in the event of veteran Pablo Zabaleta’s departure from the London Stadium.
An Ecuadorean international, the now 33-year-old joined the Old Trafford ranks under the managership of Sir Alex Ferguson for under £20m. At the end of this season, he would’ve successfully completed his 10th year at United.
Having initially joined as a right-winger to try and fill the void left by Cristiano Ronaldo, he was converted into their first-choice right-back when it became necessary.
He has been consistently impressive in the United colours having played 338 matches while scoring 25 times and assisting 62. His contribution to United’s two title-winning seasons was also quite commendable.
He came from Wigan Athletic, a club he joined after impressing on loan from Villarreal. His pace and dribbling skills have always been an asset to the United attack while his experience and defensive know-how makes him a massively valuable property.
Although he has been a fan’s favourite at Old Trafford for many years now, his age could restrict him from performing at the highest level for much longer and this should be more motivation for United to sign a younger player to replace the tiring Ecuadorean.
Time is obviously running out for Valencia at Old Trafford and this becomes clear when we look at his stats from this season. He has only featured in 5 Premier League games all campaign and is yet to make a telling contribution.
As suggested by The Sun, West Ham United are very keen on signing the 33-year-old to replace Pablo Zabaleta who could be on his way out of the club come the end of the current season.
But, irrespective of whether Zabaleta does leave or not, West Ham must look to bring in the former Premier League winner to add some much-needed experience to what is already an extremely talented side.
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His movement and ability to understand play will be a massive asset to Pellegrini who likes to use his wing-backs sparingly.
His defensive prowess is another factor that makes this a smart purchase. Overall, this move makes complete sense for both parties and should be completed at the earliest.