It’s no secret that West Ham United need help at right back. Pablo Zabaleta’s future is uncertain and Ryan Fredericks has made a tricky start to his Hammers career.
That’s why the club’s reported pursuit of Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia is just what the doctor ordered. The Sun claimed on Thursday that Manuel Pellegrini’s side were targeting the Ecuadorian on a free transfer when his Red Devils contract expires at the end of the season.
It is vital that this deal gets done. The Sun’s report claims that Pablo Zabaleta may retire at the end of the season, meaning that the club could be in line to lose their current starting right back.
Valencia would be a like-for-like replacement for the Argentinian. At 33 years of age he is similarly experienced to Zabaleta and, like the former Manchester City man, he is a proven winner who will bring that mentality to the London Stadium.
The former Wigan Athletic star is a two time Premier League winner who has been a key member of this United squad for several years now.
He has demonstrated his tactical flexibility and discipline by transitioning from a winger to a full back, and he has been one of the top flight’s finest right backs in recent seasons.
Nobody knows what Fredericks is going to look like once he gets back from injury, and whether he will improve from his poor start to the season, but he will certainly need competition if Zabaleta retires or leaves the club.
Valencia would certainly provide that, and his defensive solidity would be a massive boost for the Hammers on the right hand side of the defence.
The United man is still incredibly quick and a fantastically hard worker. He would shore up the right back position and help bring out the best in Fredericks as well.
Zabaleta’s situation means that West Ham have to act come the end of the season – Valencia would be the perfect solution to a problem position in East London.