Manchester United star Antonio Valencia has reportedly emerged as a potential transfer target for fellow Premier League side West Ham United.
As per a report from The Sun, West Ham United are planning to make a move for Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia in the summer, should Pablo Zabaleta decide to hang up his boots at the end of this season.
Valencia is one of the longest-serving members of the current Manchester United squad, having been on the club’s books since 2009, when he was signed from Wigan Athletic. A winger by trade, the 33-year-old has reinvented himself as a full-back in recent years and has been an excellent servant for the club.
However, Valencia has found himself on the fringes of the first-team this season, with injuries acting as a hindrance to him being able to feature regularly, so much so that he has featured just eight times in all competitions. The Manchester United captain is in the final leg of his contract with the club and with no talks of a renewal as of yet, he could be allowed to leave at the end of the season.
West Ham United have taken note of the situation and are considering the Ecuadorian international as a potential replacement for Pablo Zabaleta, who could decide to call it time on his career once the ongoing season comes to an end, as per the report from The Sun.
The 34-year-old is yet to make a decision on his future, but the report adds that he will be offered a behind-the-scenes role at former club Manchester City, where he is a cult figure, should he decide to retire at the end of the season, which could influence his decision.
If it comes to that, West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini has identified Valencia as a possible candidate to take over from the Manchester City legend. The Hammers are operating on a tight budget and a chance to sign the 33-year-old Manchester United captain would definitely appeal, while his £100,000-a-week wages shouldn’t pose a problem as well, according to the report.
Valencia has found game time very hard to come by this season at Manchester United. With Ashley Young, who penned a new one-year deal earlier this month, and Diogo Dalot ahead of him in the pecking order, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the Red Devils allow him to depart at the end of the season. It remains to be seen though, if West Ham act on the reported interest in the summer.