Madrid agree �21.5m deal for Wigan star
STEVE Bruce has thrashed out a �21.5million deal with Real Madrid for Antonio Valencia - but challenged Sir Alex Ferguson to match the valuation if he wants the Wigan winger.
STEVE Bruce has thrashed out a �21.5million deal with Real Madrid for Antonio Valencia - but challenged Sir Alex Ferguson to match the valuation if he wants the Wigan winger. (Daily Mail)
Valencia, 23, is seen by Manchester United as a potential replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo and he has been tracked by a number of suitors.
Aston Villa and Tottenham had asked to be kept informed but, with the two biggest clubs in the world going head-to-head, it seems they are out of the running.
Wigan boss Bruce has been negotiating with Madrid for a few months but this is the first time details of the fee - an �18m downpayment and a further �3.5m in add-ons - have been released.
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Bruce hinted a deal was afoot after Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Stoke, when he said: “It's inevitable that Valencia will go but we'll get good money for him.”
A move to United would give Ferguson cover if Ronaldo works his exit from the Barclays Premier League champions, but if Valencia heads for the Spanish capital the chances of Bernabeu bosses footing the bill for a world-record offer for Ronaldo might sharply diminish.
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The cash involved is astonishing given that Ecuador star Valencia has played less than 50 times in the Premier League since Paul Jewell signed him three years ago.
Bruce is keen to start team rebuilding and is therefore anxious to resolve the Valencia issue quickly.
Bruce has been rocked by Paul Scharner's declaration that he plans to quit Wigan for the sake of his international career.
The news will alert Villa, Tottenham and Fulham, who are eager to sign the �6m-rated Austria midfielder, who can also play in central defence.
Scharner, 29, is under contract until 2011 but fears he will struggle to add to his 23-cap tally if he stays.
“I feel this summer is the time for me to make the next step in my career,” Scharner told Austrian TV.
“I'm looking towards getting a regular starting place in the Austria national side. My absolute aim would be to play in the Champions League.”
Bruce's controversial loan striker Amr Zaki insists he pulled the plug on a permanent move to Wigan because four Premier League clubs have made solid bids and are offering better wages.
Bruce, however, revealed that he has written to Zaki's club, Zamalek, to inform them he would not be taking up their option because the player went AWOL four times.