According to a recent report from The Sun, defender Antonio Valencia could be set for a move away in the near future. The right back currently plays his football in the North West with Premier League giants Manchester United having made the move there back in 2009, in which time the 33-year-old has gone on to help the Red Devils win two Premier League titles.
Yet reports suggest that as per a clause in his current contract, which ends at the conclusion of the season, Valencia will be able to sign a pre-contract agreement with another club as early as March, and that should be of interest to Southampton manager Mark Hughes as he seeks to finally give right back Cedric Soares something to think about.
Ultimately, Portugal international Cedric made the move to St Mary’s back in 2015 as a direct replacement for Nathaniel Clyne, who left for Liverpool that summer, and the 27-year-old has on the whole done a fine job down the right-hand-side for the South Coast outfit.
He has appeared 106 times for the Saints in the last three years or so and has been a regular in each of their past three Premier League seasons, with the lack of other options in the right back department giving Cedric a relatively easy ride in maintaining his starting role.
And while in the first few seasons the 27-year-old certainly deserved to keep his place with several impressive displays at right back, he wasn’t as consistent and as accomplished last season as Hughes’ men struggled to a 17th place finish – but the lack of competition at right back meant Cedric went on to play 32 times in the Premier League for the Saints.
Thus, one wonders whether the Euro 2016 World Cup winner is suffering from a lack of competition in that department, which is why Hughes should seek to raid United for right back Valencia, in a bid to give 27-year-old Cedric something to think about.
33-year-old Valencia may well be entering the twilight of his career but he still remains a hugely adept right back at Premier League level, earning 335 appearances in all competitions for United in the last nine years, helping them to two league titles as well as a whole host of other trophies.
In fact, the Ecuador international won the club’s Player of the Season award back in 2012 and has been named captain on a regular basis in the last few years to underline his influence on this United team – and in a backline that shipped just 28 goals in the league last term, he’s clearly doing something right.
And with ability offensively in taking defenders on and getting a cross in, alongside adeptness defensively in possessing the pace and strength needed to get the better of opposition wingers, Valencia could prove to be a huge asset to Southampton manager Hughes, both in terms of boosting that area of his squad, as well as giving Cedric something else to think about.
The Portuguese star hasn’t necessarily been at his best in the last 12 months or so, but Valencia’s arrival would surely force him to re-discover that form, as failure to do so would see him fall out of the starting eleven.
As such, Hughes should seek to lure the £7.2 million-rated United man (as per Transfermarkt) to the South Coast outfit in a bid to finally give Cedric something to think about.
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