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Misfiring winger on his way?

Shakhtar-Donetsk-v-Manchester-United-UEFA-Champions-League-2332513Antonio Valencia could be heading for the Old Trafford exit door this January, according to reports in the Turkish press that have linked Galatasaray with a possible move for one of United’s misfiring wingers.

Former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini – remember him? Used to have a scarf constantly wrapped around his neck – replaced Fatih Terim as Galatasaray manager last week and he’s thought to be keen to revamp his squad in January, with Valencia being one of the Italian’s main targets.

After a fantastic 2011-12 season, Valencia’s form has suffered from a drastic lack of confidence in the last 18 months. Where the Ecuadorian would fly past opponents two seasons ago, he now seems scared to take them on and, as a result, his all around contribution has suffered, with his defensive efforts also falling short of the standards he had set 18 months ago.

Reports in a Turkish daily, some of which have been picked up by the Daily Express, suggest that the Istanbul giants would be ready to offer £12.5m for Valencia, with the Ecuadorian set to be offered a deal worth £3.5m-a-year, as well as the opportunity of first team football which, at the moment, is rapidly becoming a luxury for the 28-year-old.

Having started the season as David Moyes’ preferred option on the right flank, Valencia started United’s first seven games this season – five in the Premier League and two in the Champions League – but was dropped for United’s defeat against West Bromwich a fortnight ago and only played 13 minutes against Sunderland last week.

Since recovering from an injury that had kept him out during the early stages of the season, Nani seems to be Moyes’ preferred option on the right wing, while the emergence of Adnan Januzaj has meant that Ashley Young, another of United’s regulars, now finds himself confined on the bench, which could see Valencia’s opportunities shrink even further.

Earlier this week, the Ecuadorian was linked with a possible move to Everton as part of an improved package with which United aim to secure Leighton Baines this January, as Everton have made clear that they want the former Wigan man to be included as a makeweight in any deal for the England left-back.

Were United to sell one of their out-of-form wingers, Ashley Young would be the popular choice, particularly as Valencia can deputise for Rafael at right-back, a role where neither Phil Jones nor Chris Smalling have looked completely at ease this season, while United are obviously well aware that the Ecuadorian could be a key in a deal for Leighton Baines.

However, a £12.5m offer for a player who’s under-performed for the last 18 months would hardly be a bad deal.

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