Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ‘Not Sure’ If Antonio Valencia Will Sign New Man Utd Deal

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 22: Antonio Valencia of Manchester United during to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford on September 22, 2018 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Sam Bagnall - AMA/Getty Images)

Sam Bagnall – AMA/Getty Images

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has thrown the future of club captain Antonio Valencia into doubt after he said he is “not sure” if the Ecuadorian will pen a new deal at Old Trafford.

Valencia’s contract at the club expires in the summer, and he has barely played for United this season due to a combination of poor form and a lack of fitness.

Four of his five Premier League appearances in 2018-19 came before the end of September, and his only outing since Solskjaer succeeded Jose Mourinho as manager came against Newcastle United in January.

According to Zinny Boswell of Sky Sports, United have until 5 p.m. GMT on Friday to trigger a one-year extension option in Valencia’s contract.

That is likely to prove academic, as Solskjaer said Valencia needs to play before United will decide whether to keep him at the club per Boswell:

At the moment I’m not sure if Man United and Antonio will agree on [a deal for] the next year. He’s not 100 per cent fit, he’s had a fantastic career here at Manchester United and in England. He’s one of the only Premier League winners left in the dressing room.

It depends on if he gets on the pitch in the next few months. He’s the captain and a great servant to the club so hopefully I can get him on the pitch to show what he can do.

Now 33, Valencia is reaching the end of his career at the top level.

He has been a huge asset for United since Sir Alex Ferguson signed him from Wigan Athletic for £16 million in June 2009.

Originally a flying right winger, he has converted into a successful full-back in recent campaigns and is a two-time Premier League winner.

Given his dip in form, which was evident under Mourinho earlier in the season, it is arguable how much value he now adds to the squad outside of his immense experience.

United need to address the right-back position. Another 33-year-old converted winger, Ashley Young, has operated admirably in the position recently.

But it would be no surprise if the Red Devils sign a new player to fill the role in the summer, even with 19-year-old Diogo Dalot also in the squad.

Indeed, there is likely to be a clear-out of players at United in the summer, and that may well be led by Solskjaer if he is given the manager’s job full-time.

Young has proved he is still a valuable player to have in the squad, but it looks as though Valencia will need a late-season renaissance on the pitch if he is to earn a new contract.