According to The Sun, West Ham United are eyeing a move for Manchester United wide player Antonio Valencia.
Valencia is out of contract at the end of the season and a contract extension is unlikely, meaning the Hammers will have the opportunity to sign him on a free transfer next summer.
We take a look at the pros and cons of Valencia’s potential move to the London Stadium.
The acquisition of Valencia would solve West Ham’s right-back problems amid speculation surrounding the future of Pablo Zabaleta. Ryan Fredericks is yet to make an impression under Manuel Pellegrini so far.
Valencia could be a good choice thanks to his athleticism and an excellent work ethic. The Ecuadorian international is also an attack-minded defender, which tunes in well with Pellegrini’s style of football.
Much like Zabaleta, Valencia is an experienced defender, having made over 330 appearances for Manchester United in all competitions. And his vast experience may be useful, considering West Ham’s young and improving backline.
Furthermore, the 33-year-old is also known for his crossing and often provides the drive on flanks, which, would allow the wide players to move into the central areas of the pitch.
While Valencia may be a good alternative to Zabaleta, he will turn 34 next summer, meaning he is definitely not a long-term solution for Pellegrini.
Valencia’s overall consistency has deteriorated in recent years, thanks to his age, which has also taken a massive toll on his pace and athleticism.
The 33-year-old has struggled with injuries in recent months, notably suffering from a knee problem as well as a calf strain this season. This raises the question as to whether or not he will be physically fit and in peak condition next season.
In terms of his overall gameplay, Valencia’s struggles in the air are well-known and while the defender may have a bulky figure, he often finds it difficult to deal against physically astute and agile wingers.
This could be an issue for Pellegrini, whose newly invigorated West Ham side have drastically improved in terms of providing the defensive solidity.