Manchester United defender Antonio Valencia is set to leave club at the end of the season, interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has suggested.
As reported by The Guardian, Manchester United caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has talked about the uncertain future of Antonio Valencia. During his pre-match press conference ahead of the game against Southampton, the Norwegian has hinted that 2018-19 is set to be the final campaign for the Ecuadorian at Old Trafford.
Antonio Valencia joined Manchester United from Wigan Athletic in the summer of 2009, arriving at the club in the aftermath of the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Ecuadorian international had already established himself as one of the most exciting wide men in the Premier League at Wigan, and he only improved at Old Trafford.
Nearly ten years later, the 33-year-old will go down in Manchester United history as one of their modern football stalwarts, having reinvented himself during Louis van Gaal’s tenure at the club. From being a pacy winger with a quick burst of pace, Valencia went on to become a reliable right-back for the Red Devils.
In fact, his impact under Jose Mourinho was so impressive that he was regarded as one of the best right-backs on show in the Premier League over the last two seasons. But, the current campaign has seen a bitter fall from grace for the player, with recurrent injury issues and poor form restricting his game time considerably.
With his role becoming diminished, speculation has been rife over Valencia’s future at the club, with widespread reports claiming that he could leave in the summer on a free transfer. And, Manchester United interim manager has alluded towards the same, hinting that the 33-year-old is set to depart.
“He’s still not 100% fit, he is still working to get back fit and he’s had a fantastic career here at Manchester United and in England. He is one of the Premier League winners left in the dressing room but at the moment I’m not sure if Manchester United and Antonio will agree on the next year.”
According to Sky Sports, United have until 5 p.m. on Friday to trigger the one-year option in Valencia’s contract, just as they had done last year. As things stand, and judging by the Sky Sports report, it looks unlikely that the player will be at Manchester United next season.
As per widespread reports, there is interest from West Ham United for the veteran defender, and it remains to be seen if any other club joins the Hammers in his pursuit. For now, Antonio Valencia looks set to leave Manchester United in the summer, bringing an end to a ten-year stint at Old Trafford.