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Report: Antonio Valencia to Leave Manchester United After Jose Mourinho Argument

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistOctober 14, 2018

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02: Antonio Valencia of Manchester United during the Group H match of the UEFA Champions League between Manchester United and Valencia at Old Trafford on October 2, 2018 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia reportedly could be preparing to leave the Red Devils after a series of disagreements with coach Jose Mourinho.

Alan Nixon of The Sun (h/t Metro) reported the right-back can negotiate a free transfer away if the United board do not activate an extra year option in his current contract. Valencia would be able to sign a pre-contract agreement in March, paving the way for his exit.

Per Metro, Mourinho has reportedly accused the Ecuador international of being overweight and dropped him from the starting XI after the player "liked" an Instagram post heavily criticising The Special One at Old Trafford.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02:  Antonio Valencia of Manchester United lies on the pitch during the Group H match of the UEFA Champions League between Manchester United and Valencia at Old Trafford on October 2, 2018 in Manchester, United Kingdom.  (Pho
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Valencia has been one of Mourinho's favoured lieutenants during his two-year tenure in Manchester, but the converted winger has failed to sparkle at full-back.

At 33, the player is now past his best, and the recent arrival of Diogo Dalot from Porto has excited United supporters.

Valencia immediately apologised for his misdemeanour when it came to light he had "liked" an Instagram post calling for Mourinho's removal:

Antonio Valencia @anto_v25

Yesterday, I liked a post on Instagram without reading the text that accompanied the picture. These are not my views and I apologise for this. I am fully supportive of the manager and my teammates. We are all giving our everything to improve the results. https://t.co/bMEsrAwMkh

The incident saw Valencia dropped for the last Premier League match against Newcastle United at Old Trafford, as the hosts overturned a two-goal deficit to win 3-2.

Ashley Young took Valencia's place on the day, and both Dalot and the England international give Mourinho immediate options if the Ecuadorian leaves.

The reported problems between player and manager add more weight to the building issues playing out at the Theatre of Dreams.

Paul Pogba's immediate career at United remains in question, and Romelu Lukaku has said he would be happy to move to Serie A in future.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02:  Jose Mourinho, Manager of Manchester United looks to talk to Romelu Lukaku of Manchester United and Paul Pogba of Manchester United during the Group H match of the UEFA Champions League between Manchester United and Vale
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Per the Daily Mail's Chris Wheeler, Pogba is "desperate to leave" as Mourinho loses his grip in the Old Trafford dressing room. The club has multiple players coming to the end of their current deals, and the disharmony between manager and squad is a huge cause for concern.

Wheeler added Luke Shaw is also out of contact at the end of the season, and he intends to let his deal run out if Mourinho remains in charge.

Valencia would not be a huge loss for United, but considering he is one of Mourinho's trusted players, it shows the tone and shade at Carrington is a depressing one.

Mourinho needs results fast. Only victories can save his job if he is to stay as manager until the end of the campaign.

United will want to retain their biggest stars who require new deals, and the coach could pay the ultimate price for the consistent conflict he creates with his top talents.

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