According to a recent report from The Sun, Antonio Valencia could be set for a move away in the not-too-distant future. The 33-year-old currently plays his football at Premier League heavyweights Manchester United and has done so since leaving Wigan Athletic back in 2009, in which time the defender has appeared over 300 times for the Red Devils, helping them win several trophies in the process.
Yet reports suggest that a clause on his current contract, due to end in the summer, enables Valencia to sign a pre-contract agreement as early as March, which is news that should be of keen interest to Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson, as the right back would be the perfect mentor for young Eagles star Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Ultimately, Wan-Bissaka has enjoyed quite the rise in the last few years after coming up through the youth ranks at Selhurst Park, with the 20-year-old appearing seven times in the Premier League for the London-based outfit last season, before becoming a first team regular under Hodgson this term.
The England Under-21 international has started seven of their eight league games this time round and missed the other one only as a result of the red card he picked up against Liverpool the match previous, with the right back showcasing his qualities both offensively, grabbing an assist in their opening weekend win at Fulham, and indeed defensively, helping the Eagles to three clean sheets.
In fact, other than talisman Wilfried Zaha, it’s arguable that Wan-Bissaka has been Palace’s most impressive performer in the early stages of the campaign, but at the tender age of 20, there is still a long way for the young defender to go in his career, and learning from someone who has been there and done it in the Premier League can only help – £7.2 million-rated Valencia (as per Transfermarkt) could be that man.
The 33-year-old may well be entering the twilight of his career, but he has been a stalwart at Old Trafford in the last nine years, appearing 335 times in all competitions for the Red Devils, helping them win two Premier League titles as well as a whole host of other trophies.
And in becoming a full back during his time at the club, having initially joined as a winger back in 2009, Valencia himself has learned how to adapt his game and get the best out of it as a right back, with the defender winning the club’s Player of the Season award back in 2012 such were his efforts in that position.
Thus, who better to mentor Wan-Bissaka through his Premier League adventure than Valencia, who in recent years has been arguably one of the best right backs in the division both offensively and indeed defensively, and someone who several United managers have trusted to do a job down the right-hand-side.
Ultimately, Palace’s Wan-Bissaka has an extremely bright future ahead of him in the game, and bringing someone like Valencia to Selhurst Park, who of course is still plenty good enough to compete for a first team spot, can only be good for the 20-year-old in his bid to become the best player he can possibly be.
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