Antonio Valencia could reportedly exit Manchester United on a free transfer, with a clause in his contract allowing him to bypass the extension option.
According to a report by The Sun, Antonio Valencia might be on the verge of departing from Manchester United on a free transfer. A clause in his current contract, which is in its final year, at Old Trafford allows the club captain to bypass the extension option, should it not be triggered by March.
Valencia is closing in on a decade of service at Manchester United, having joined the club in the summer of 2009 as a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo. Initially joining as a fiery winger, rated among the best in the Premier League at the time, the player was an instant success at Old Trafford, making the PFA Team of the Year in his maiden campaign.
Valencia has also been declared Manchester United’s Player of the Year on two occasions while winning a number of honours with the club. But, the most pleasing aspect of his stint with the Red Devils has been his willingness to adapt, as showcased by his ability to play as a full-back over the last few years.
But, after a near-decade long association with Manchester United, Valencia seems to be well past his best. The 33-year-old has failed to be an imposing figure in the final third for quite some time now, and his situation has been further exasperated by the fact that he is not at his optimum fitness level.
In addition to his poor form, reports of uneasiness in the player’s relationship with Jose Mourinho hasn’t helped matters either. Such a scenario is thus, giving way to speculation over Valencia’s future at Manchester United being uncertain, especially with his current deal set to run out at the end of the season.
The Premier League heavyweights do reserve the option to extend the contract by twelve months. But, Manchester United will have to trigger it before March, otherwise they risk losing the Ecuadorian veteran for free.
The report suggests that Valencia can sign a pre-contract deal with any club after March, if Manchester United do not extend his contract by then. With widespread interest from German and Turkish clubs, the 33-year-old could end up taking the call on his future accordingly.
Manchester United, on their part, might not have to fret all that much, with Diogo Dalot, who joined this past summer from FC Porto, showing some promising signs in his first couple of outings for them. The major concern for them will be recruiting another right-back to complete the full-back department, with Matteo Darmian out of favour and Ashley Young past his best as well.
For now, it looks likely that Antonio Valencia’s time at Manchester United will come to an end after a decade-long stint at Old Trafford. What remains to be seen is if the club extends his contract before March, or if they end up losing him on a free transfer.