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Manchester United To Sign Antonio Valencia for £18 Million: Deal or No Deal?

Andrew McNairSenior Writer IJanuary 31, 2009

It has been reported this morning that Manchester United are looking to make a last minute bid for Wigan Athletic’s Luis Antonio Valencia.

That bid will be close to £18 million pounds, but does Sir Alex Ferguson really need the Ecuadorian international?

United will be clear at the top should they win their game in hand, their two closest rivals (Liverpool and Chelsea) battle it out this weekend and the Red Devils haven’t conceded in eleven straight Premier League games.

Sounds pretty “hunky dory” to me.

Valencia has without doubt been a star performer since coming to England on loan in 2006 and in 2008, he joined Wigan permanently for an undisclosed fee, which I have no doubt was a speck on the £18 million fee now being speculated.

However, seven goals in 73 league games for Wigan hardly puts him on the same page as Cristiano Ronaldo, the man currently occupying Valencia’s favourite role in the Manchester United side.

So why exactly do United want the 23-year-old?

With the aim of replacing Ronaldo?

There has been a lot of speculation about Ronaldo’s future and I for one wouldn’t be surprised to see the Portuguese winger leave for Real Madrid in the summer. Therefore, Sir Alex needs a ready made replacement as Nani has yet to make the final step up to consistent performer.

To stop Real Madrid getting their hands on the player?

Again there has been speculation linking Valencia with Madrid as well as United and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out there is bad blood between the two clubs. The thought of Manchester United losing both players to Real would be simply “unthinkable” to Sir Alex.

Valencia is available for UEFA Champions League duty?

It helps when spending £18 million on a player to have him available for your biggest games, straight from the off. There aren’t too many top class players around, who have not already featured in Europe’s biggest show this season making the former El Nacional winger even more desirable.

Or maybe they don’t want him at all?

Yes, he is a quality player but Man United, as stated above, already have their man in the 34 times capped Valencia’s position and he won’t be getting dropped anytime soon. £18 million pounds is a bit steep for a substitute, even for the European and World Champions.

I think this is more speculation than fact—Luis Antonio Valencia just doesn’t fit in, does he?

Not bad if you are Wigan however, £18 million plus the £14 million they got for Wilson Palacios makes good reading, especially with Hugo Rodallega to keep them up.

Deal Mr Banker, and congratulations to the Wigan Athletic money making machine, quite a few clubs could learn a lesson or two here.

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