Wigan Athletic have confirmed that negotiations over the transfer of winger Antonio Valencia to Manchester United are expected to start "very shortly".
United have indentified 23-year-old Valencia as one of the players they want to bring in as a replacement to Real-Madrid bound Cristiano Ronaldo with a fee in the region of £17 million ($28m) being mooted. Wigan chairman Dave Whelan told Press Association Sport that the Premier League champions have made their interest in the Ecuadorian international winger known for “the last two or three months”. “They have been in touch with us and we will be starting negotiations very shortly, I would imagine,” Whelan said. “United have been in touch with us over Antonio over the last two or three months, expressing an interest and putting cash offers on the table. Things will develop over the next seven to 14 days.” The speedy Valencia has shone since initially joining Wigan on loan from Villarreal three years ago and has also attracted interest from Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
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United will be cash-rich when Ronaldo’s proposed $130 million sale is completed and Valencia is expected to be the first of two-to-three big-money arrivals at Old Trafford this summer. Lyon forward Karim Benzema, on-loan Argentine Carlos Tevez and Bayern Munich’s French winger Franck Ribery are others being linked with a move to Manchester. Meanwhile, Wigan are still waiting to confirm Roberto Martinez as their new manager in succession to Steve Bruce, who recently left to join Sunderland. Martinez is currently coach of Championship side Swansea City but the two clubs are haggling over a compensation fee for the Spaniard’s backroom staff.