Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hinted Antonio Valencia will not receive a contract extension at Manchester United.
The Ecuadorian, such a regular under Jose Mourinho, has only made eight appearances in all competitions this season amid continuing injury problems. His last and only showing under Solskjaer was at Newcastle on January 2, where he performed sluggishly.
His contract expires at the end of the season and no signs have emerged to suggest he’ll be getting a new one.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Solskjaer suggested Valencia, as things stood with his injury and form problems, would not receive a new contract from Man United before June.
“He’s still not 100 per cent fit,” he said. “He is still working to get back fit and he’s had a fantastic career here at Man United and in England, he is one of the Premier League winners left in the dressing room.”
“But, at the moment, I’m not sure if Man United and Antonio will agree on the next year, so it depends if he gets back on the pitch as well in the next few months.
“But he’s the captain, a great servant to the club, so hopefully I can get him on the pitch and show what he can do, or he can get himself 100 per cent fit and back on the pitch.”
Valencia has not, in truth, looked sharp enough all season. The level of energy and vitality you need at this level appears to have deserted the 33-year-old. Both Mourinho and Solskjaer, two very different managers, both realised this fact about the club captain.
This is just what happens when you reach the age of 33 having spent a decade accumulating minutes and injuries in the Premier League. It all catches up with you eventually. And for Valencia, quite the engine in his hay-day, his time has most certainly come.