Antonio Valencia has put pen to paper on a new contract extension with Manchester United. As confirmed on Friday (26 May), the Ecuador international, signed by Sir Alex Ferguson from Wigan Athletic eight years ago, has agreed a deal that will keep him at Old Trafford until 2019. It also includes the option of a further 12 months.
A clear favourite of Jose Mourinho, Valencia, who has successfully transitioned from inconsistent winger to powerhouse right-back, made 43 appearances across all competitions during the Portuguese's first season in charge. He was also handed the armband for Wednesday night's (24 May) 2-0 Europa League final victory over Ajax in Stockholm, with regular skipper Wayne Rooney and deputy Michael Carrick both named as substitutes.
"It is no secret that I had been an admirer of Antonio's long before I joined the club," Mourinho said. "I knew what a fantastic player he was and he has not disappointed me on that front.
"However, what I could never have imagined was what a great person he is. I know I have said this before but I truly believe it is a real privilege for us to have such a good player and such a good man. I am delighted he has extended his contract."
The once maligned Valencia was initially set to see a three-year contract expire this summer. However, United triggered a clause to extend his deal by another year in January.
After the announcement of a second extension in the space of five months, the 31-year-old said: "Manchester United has been my life since 2009 and I am absolutely delighted to have signed a new contract. Wednesday evening provided the one trophy this club had never won and it was a true honour for me to captain the team for the final.
"I would like to thank the manager for the confidence he has given me this season and I am sure that we will be challenging on all fronts next season. I would also like to say a big thank you to my family, my teammates and, of course, the fans, for their amazing support."
United's attentions will now turn to securing the future of Carrick, who is said to have been offered a new one-year deal. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is also out of contract this summer, although it remains to be seen what lies in store for the charismatic Swede following knee surgery. Rooney, meanwhile, claims to have "more or less" decided on his Red Devils future amid offers from England and abroad.
In terms of incomings, Antoine Griezmann, Eric Dier, Michael Keane and Romelu Lukaku are all said to feature on a £200m ($256m) transfer shortlist handed by Mourinho to executive vice chairman Ed Woodward.