Why Antonio Valencia should leave Manchester United in January
According to a report from the Daily Mail, Manchester United skipper Antonio Valencia is open to leaving the club in January after accepting that he is unlikely to win back his place at the club.
The 33-year-old right-back, who joined Manchester United from Wigan Athletic back in 2009, was named the club captain at the beginning of the season following Michael Carrick’s retirement, but he has not started a Premier League game since the 1-1 draw with Wolves in September.
The Ecuadorian has also had his fair share of injury problems this season and landed himself in hot water following October’s 0-0 draw with Spanish side Valencia. Antonio Valencia was found to have liked a post on Instagram which called for Mourinho to be sacked, and he has since featured in just two matches for the club. However, it now looks like his wish has been fulfilled,
The 33-year-old right-back though, has featured in the club’s recent Champions League games. But the report adds that Valencia’s agent has been in Manchester this week to discuss his options, with the defender attracting interest from West Ham and some Spanish clubs.
Although Valencia’s contract expires at the end of this season, United have the option to extend it by a further 12 months. But the club has not offered him an extension as of now, meaning the veteran right-back could leave Old Trafford next summer on a free transfer.
Now with Valencia open to leaving United in January, the club must give their skipper the green signal.
Mourinho was forced to use Valencia sporadically this season due to injury problems. Ashley Young has deputised at right-back in Valencia’s absence, while the Red Devils also signed Diogo Dalot from FC Porto in the summer. The youngster is showing a lot of potential and looks like a perfect long-term candidate for the right-back spot at Manchester United.
As far as Valencia is concerned, he is clearly past his prime and has lacked the intensity and energy to compete at the highest level this season. The 33-year-old’s performances have been below average this term, which clearly suggests his time at Old Trafford is coming to an end.
At 33, Valencia may still have a lot to offer but it’s high time the club look beyond the ageing Ecuadorian and nurture the young Diogo Dalot instead by providing him with regular opportunities. Valencia is United’s longest-serving player in the squad but he is currently in the twilight years of his footballing career and won’t improve further.
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With six months remaining on his current contract, United would be wise to cash in on Valencia next month. That would also give Valencia an opportunity to join another club where he’ll likely get regular opportunities to play. Hence, this is a move which would suit both parties involved.