Antonio Valencia’s time at Manchester United is coming to an end.
This summer marks 10 years since Sir Alex Ferguson signed the Ecuadorian from Wigan Athletic for £16m and he’s been a fantastic servant for the club.
Originally brought in as a winger to replace Cristiano Ronaldo, Valencia transformed into a world-class right-back over the years after Fergie asked him to play more defensively.
David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho all used the 33-year-old at right-back, too, but game time has been a lot harder under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Since Solskjaer took over as interim manager in mid-December, Valencia has only featured in one Premier League game – a 2-0 victory away to Newcastle.
But he struggled in that game and now it’s become clear that Valencia will leave United at the end of the season.
Speaking ahead of the weekend’s action, Solskjaer suggested that the club wouldn’t be triggering their option to a one-year extension for Valencia. The deadline was on Friday at 5pm.
“At the moment I’m not sure if Man United and Antonio will agree on [a deal for] the next year,” the Norwegian explained. “He’s not 100 per cent fit.
“He’s had a fantastic career here at Manchester United and in England. He’s one of the only Premier League winners left in the dressing room.
“It depends on if he gets on the pitch in the next few months. He’s the captain and a great servant to the club so hopefully I can get him on the pitch to show what he can do.”
In reaction to the deadline passing, Valencia tweeted saying how lucky he feels to have spent 10 years at United and that he’s focused on the remainder of the season.
Valencia has undoubtedly declined in recent years and now is probably the right time for United to let him go.
But in his prime the United captain was brilliant and one fan has created a tribute video highlighting a number of his ‘beast’ moments for them. Check it out below.
Strength has always been one of Valencia’s greatest assets and in the video you can see just how many times he’s overpowered opponents to win the ball or start attacks.
At 33 years old Valencia could perhaps do a job for United as a back-up option, but it’s very unlikely that he’ll want to settle for anything less than a starting role.