According to a recent report from The Sun, Antonio Valencia could be set for a move away in the near future. The right back currently plays his football at Premier League giants Manchester United and has done so since leaving Wigan Athletic back in 2009, in which time he has become a stalwart at Old Trafford with over 300 appearances for the Red Devils.
Yet reports suggest that a clause in his contract, which currently ends next summer, enables the Ecuador international to pen a pre-contract agreement with another club come March, which should be of interest to Newcastle owner Mike Ashley and manager Rafa Benitez, as Valencia is exactly the calibre of player the Magpies need to start climbing the division.
Ultimately, Benitez has found things tricky at St James’ Park ever since taking over back in March 2016, with the 58-year-old inadequately backed by owner Ashley throughout his tenure at the North East heavyweights.
In fact, the Magpies made a profit on player sales this summer to underline just how little financial backing Benitez has had from the Newcastle owner, with the Spaniard afforded just seven signings during the close season, two of which loans and another on a free transfer.
But with his side languishing in the bottom three and already three points adrift of safety, signings are necessary come January, and a cut-price deal for United’s Valencia is one Ashley must seek to get done for his manager.
The right back may be at the age of 33 and possibly entering the twilight of his career, but Newcastle aren’t blessed with too many accomplished options in the full backs ranks, with DeAndre Yedlin a solid if unspectacular first-choice down the right-hand-side.
And with Javier Manquillo the only alternative on that side of the pitch, Benitez must look to bolster that department in the upcoming January window, and Valencia’s arrival would do just that.
The Ecuador international has been a stalwart at United since his move there nine years ago in making 335 appearances for the Red Devils, in which time he has been converted from the winger he was at Wigan into a very adept Premier League right back – he was named in the PFA Team of the Year back in 2010, and won the club’s Player of the Year award two years later.
Thus, it’s pretty clear that Valencia is a top-quality right back and the sort that can help take Newcastle to the next level – add in the fact that he has won two Premier League titles and a whole host of other trophies at United, and he’d bring a winning mentality to a football club striving to get back to their previous lofty heights.
And with his future at Old Trafford seemingly uncertain heading into 2019, Newcastle owner Ashley must seek to lure the right back to St James’ Park to finally give manager Benitez exactly what he needs to take the Magpies to the next level.
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