Discussing Antonio Valencia’s new Manchester United contract 0

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Manchester United announced this morning that Antonio Valencia has signed a new contract and is now committed to the club until June 2018.

That’s surprising, not least because by that time Valencia will be 31 and presumably past his prime.

Some players transition well into their thirties and adjust seamlessly to their own physical decline but, because of the nature of his game, Valencia is unlikely to be one them.  Think about how he plays - he’s very reliant on his acceleration to get past players and into offensively dangerous areas.

Once that pace starts to fade away, what are you really left with?  A winger who knocks the ball beyond his full-back but who lacks the speed to retrieve it?  His delivery is so haphazard (completed just 17 crosses all season) that, stripped of the ability to get behind defences, he really isn’t going to be all that useful for much longer.

This contractual situation is very similar to the one which saw Nani awarded a new contract during the domestic season - neither player is overly valuable to Manchester United, yet both are now in possession of new - presumably lucrative - deals.  Why would the club not trade those players in - both of whom are depreciating in value all the time - and reinvest the income?  What positive impact are they having on the current squad?

It’s a mystery.

Spare a though for Ashley Young, though, because his Old Trafford career looks to be over.  If the chances of Valencia and Nani remaining at Manchester United were slim, then the odds of the full trio of underwhelming wingers staying are very long indeed.

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