Why Fulham need to bring in the experienced Antonio Valencia
The Daily Mail has revealed that Fulham are targeting out-of-contract Manchester United star Antonio Valencia. The 33-year-old has less than six months left on his current deal with the Red Devils but has already been told that he can leave. This has been brought to the attention of a few Premier League sides who look for an affordable defensive option, which the Ecuadorian brings to the table.
Valencia, who joined nearly ten years ago from Wigan Athletic has been a mainstay in Manchester United’s team-sheet. He started as a right-winger before transforming into a right-back. During the course of that, the 33-year-old has made 338 appearances for the club, with 324 of those coming in the Premier League. This kind of experience cannot be bough, which is exactly why Fulham need to out-do the Magpies to sign the Ecuadorian.
With Antonio Valencia allowed to leave, there is a great chance that a few more sides enter the race as they all look towards surviving the Premier League. But for Fulham, more than any other side, they need the experienced right-back on their books, because if for nothing else, he can provide them with a cut-rate defensive option.
On a larger scale, Valencia’s experience and ability will be crucial to Claudio Ranieri as the season becomes tougher. With Fulham sitting in the relegation zone, eight points from safety. They need reinforcements and having signed Ryan Babel, the former Leicester City boss believes that either Danny Simpson (Daily Mail) or Antonio Valencia are his defensive options now in January.
Both are experienced Premier League stars and have both won at least one Premier League title during the course of their career. However, while Simpson will be a long-term option, Valencia’s experience and leadership will be crucial for Fulham to survive this season, which is something they need to make sure they will do.
Otherwise spending over the limit in the summer would make no sense for Fulham. If they do get relegated, then in all likelihood, they’ll lose at least half of their players they brought in.
For them, time will only get tougher from here on in, and adding someone as experienced as Antonio Valencia will not hurt them, as Ryan Babel has proved so far.
Whether he accepts the move to Craven Cottage is another question altogether, but if everything else falls into place and the 33-year-old gets a chance to play football again, then Fulham needs to convince him to take it.
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