A week after activating the one-year option in Marouane Fellaini’s contract, Manchester United have exercised the same clause in Antonio Valencia’s deal. The Ecuadorian, who came to the club in 2009, will now stay at Old Trafford until the summer of 2018. Antonio Valencia was one of the players who was on the verge of leaving Manchester United, as his contract was coming to an end in the summer. There was a lot of uncertainty given that he was 31 and clubs do not prefer offering lengthy contracts to players above 30.
No changes in wages are to be expected, as it is merely a contract extension. Valencia’s contract sees him receive £80,000 per week.
As one of the club’s longest serving players, Valencia has appeared in 271 games for the club and scored 21 goals. Sir Alex Ferguson used to do occasionally play Valencia as a right-back in order to take advantage of his incredible stamina. Under Louis van Gaal, he had been permanently shifted back to the position and Jose Mourinho has had no reason to alter the same.
A demonstration of his incredible quality is apparent from Valencia being crowned as the Manchester United fans ‘Player of the Month’ for November.
United have been linked with players who can replace Valencia. Benfica defender Victor Lindelof has been one of them, but it now appears that the transfer may not go through after all. Valencia looks set to continue as the first choice right-back at least until the end of the campaign. In terms of offensive support, Mourinho cannot wish for more from Valencia, who is one of the top crossers in the Premier League this season. Valencia has averaged 61.2 minutes between each completed cross (26) while coming up with one assist. Statistically, he is the league’s top crosser.
More importantly, Valencia has the key factors Jose Mourinho always looks for in a full-back – physical presence and stamina. At 31, he may be at Old Trafford only for the next couple of years and he will look to maximise his time as much as possible.