Arsenal are interested in a shock Bosman move for Antonio Valencia, who is set to leave Manchester United in the summer, as per his father.
In an interview with El Universo (h/t The Sun), Antonio Valencia’s father and agent Luis Valencia has claimed that Arsenal are among the clubs that are showing and interest in signing his son in the summer transfer window. The winger-turned-full-back’s contract with Manchester United is set to run out at the end of the season.
Antonio Valencia has come a long way since joining Manchester United from Wigan Athletic in the summer of 2009. A fiery winger who terrorised full-backs at his peak, the Ecuadorian has shown tremendous versatility to convert into a full-back in the latter half of his decade-long stint with the Premier League heavyweights.
But, the current campaign has been one to forget for Valencia, with poor form and injuries sending him spiralling down the pecking order and restricting him to just 8 outings so far. And, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer recently hinted towards the inevitable, with the 33-year-old set to leave Manchester United in the summer, when he will be a free agent.
But, while his stock may have plummeted over the course of this season, the winger-turned-full-back still seems to have enough admirers. As per his father and agent, Luis Valencia, Arsenal are among the clubs that are keen on securing his services in the summer transfer window.
Speaking to El Universo, he said, “He definitely will not continue in Manchester. He wants a change in the air and the club is not going to renew him either. Like everything in life, everything comes to an end. Arsenal, West Ham, Inter Milan and one club from China are options, but in football everything is changing.”
“He wants to choose the best option, but above all he wants to sign a contract for two years. Not for the money, but for peace and hopefully, he told me, be hired by a team that fights for important things.”
The interest from Arsenal comes as a bit of a surprise, even if the right-back slot is one that could ideally do with a reinforcement – Aaron Wan-Bissaka was recently liked. Hector Bellerin’s injury troubles have meant that Unai Emery has had to rely on the likes of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Carl Jenkinson and Stephan Lichtsteiner for much of this season.
Maitland-Niles has, more often than not, given a good account of himself, but prefers playing in more advanced roles. Neither Jenkinson nor Lichtsteiner, however, appear to be the preferred backup candidates for the Arsenal boss.
While Valencia could be a short-term option for the Gunners, signing him might represent a step back, considering the move for Lichtsteiner has not really paid off well either. Although, the Manchester United captain fits Arsenal’s budgetary restrictions, which would explain why they are scouring the possibility of securing his services.
But, as per Valencia’s father and agent, Arsenal will likely face some competition in his pursuit and it remains to be seen if they are able to land him. For now, what remains certain is that his time at Manchester United will come to an end in the summer.