Man Utd stalwart says goodbye after Old Trafford contract deadline passes

Date published: Saturday 2nd March 2019 9:11 - Matthew Briggs

Antonio Valencia, Ander Herrera, Alexis Sanchez, Eric Bailly and Juan Mata

Manchester United club captain Antonio Valencia looks set to leave Old Trafford this summer after 10 years at the club.

Signed from Wigan under the noses of Real Madrid in 2009, the 33-year-old has made 338 appearances for the club and picked up two Premier League winners’ medals in the process.

Valencia was appointed United captain by Jose Mourinho in the summer, but has managed just eight appearances this season – and a calf complaint has been partly behind why he has made just one start under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Press Association Sport understands that the right-back has returned to Ecuador as he recovers from his latest injury issue and expects to leave Old Trafford in the summer after a decade of service.

Valencia’s contract expires at the end of the season and it is understood the club had until 5pm on Friday to trigger the one-year extension clause built into his deal.

Valencia hinted late on Friday evening that he is set to exit the club.

He wrote on Twitter: “Lago Agrio is a very humble town in Ecuador. When I was a child, I never imagined travel to Europe. Thanks to God for letting me play 10 years in the best club in the world: @ManUtd.

“Now I am focused on my recovery so I can end the season playing at Old Trafford!”

A number of club are believed to be looking at a player who is keen to carry on for several more years.

Press Association Sport understands that Saudi Arabian club Al-Ittihad were seriously interested in signing Valencia, but the recent sacking of ex-West Ham manager Slaven Bilic appears to have scuppered that move.

Valencia’s impending contract extension deadline was put to caretaker manager Solskjaer in Friday’s press conference previewing the Premier League clash with Southampton.

“He’s still not 100 per cent fit,” the Norwegian said.

“He’s still working to get back fit and he’s had a fantastic career here at Man United and in England. He’s 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 how he… if he gets back on the pitch as well in the next few months.

“But Antonio’s the captain, a great servant to the club, so hopefully I can get him on the pitch so he can show what he can do. Or he can get himself 100 per cent and get back on the pitch.”

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