West Ham to offer Valencia an escape route?
West Ham are lining up a January move for Manchester United full-back Antonio Valencia, according to The Sun.
Valencia joined Manchester United in 2009 from Wigan and has gone on to play over 300 games for the club, in which he has scored 25 and assisted 62.
Despite being a top club servant, Valencia has really struggled to hold down a starting spot this season.
In fact, Valencia has made just four appearances for United in the Premier League this season.
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Instead, Jose Mourinho has mainly been choosing to play Luke Shaw left-back and Ashley Young right-back this season.
Valencia was recently asked about his lack of game time, to which he responded:
“The player who has been in my place (Ashley Young) has been playing well. You have to respect the decision.
“The only thing I can do is prepare and be ready for when he (Mourinho) needs me and be in the right condition to compete.
“I’m calm right now and I know I’ll get an opportunity to play again.
“The relationship with Mourinho has always been a good one.”
However, it now seems that West Ham are offering Valencia a chance to leave United in the summer for more regular first-team football.
Valencia’s current deal with United runs out in July of 2019 and given his lack of playing time he is unlikely to sign a new contract.
Valencia to replace Zabaleta or Fredericks?
Valencia could be a useful signing for the Hammers for a number of reasons.
Firstly, West Ham suffered a major blow in the right-back department earlier this season when they lost Ryan Fredericks to injury.
So, Valencia could well come in to provide some much-needed cover for that spot.
Secondly, Pablo Zabaleta’s West Ham contract runs out in July and if he fails to agree on a new deal, the Hammers will need another right-back to replace him.
Valencia is also capable of playing as a right midfielder and could provide West Ham with some cover there as well.