The long awaited decision of whether Luis Antonio Valencia would sign for Real or United is over, the Ecuadorian midfielder will make the move to Old Trafford as a replacement for Ronaldo, click here for the details…

Well it’s happened; the long running saga over the future of Luis Antonio Valencia has finally come to an end. After nearly 10 months the Ecuadorian star has gone for a club record fee to the Red Devils of Manchester United.

The official press release from the club read as follows: Wigan Athletic have confirmed that Ecuador international winger Antonio Valencia has been sold to Manchester United for a club record fee.

Manager Roberto Martinez said he was disappointed to see Valencia leave the club, but accepted that the transfer had become ‘almost an inevitability’ and said that the club has received an ‘enormous financial boost’ following the sale.

Martinez revealed that he made an 11th hour attempt to convince him to stay, but said that it would have been the wrong thing to do to stand in the way of a player’s career, especially one who has given so much in his time at the club.

Martinez said: “I was not here when he arrived, but Antonio has become a big star at the club. He has been a marvellous player for us and now we will benefit enormously from the money that we get for him.

“As long as any deal is in the best long term interests of the club, and I believe this one is, then I will sanction it, and I know the Chairman agrees. The bottom line here is that when two of the biggest clubs in the world come knocking, it would be near on impossible for any other club to prevent the move – even Manchester United couldn’t stop Ronaldo leaving in the end, could they?”

“Antonio signed a long-term deal here 18 months ago, and this has now enabled us to get a fantastic price for him, a club record fee. In a purely footballing sense, I wish I could have kept him because he is a great player, but, as I say, you have to make the decisions that are the right ones for the club.

“Every club outside the Top Four is probably a selling club, and when you look at the careers of players like Antonio, or Wilson Palacios, or even Emile Heskey who regained his England shirt while he was here and earned himself a great move, it sends out a really strong message that Wigan Athletic is a very good prospect for players wanting to make a name for themselves in the Premier League, a club that gives players a chance and gives them a platform on which to shine.

“That is what really interests me.” Martinez added: “Football is about looking forwards. Everyone at the club wishes Antonio all the best but we have to move on as a club, and now it is my job to find quality additions to the squad.

We have several more targets in mind and we are working flat out to try and bring in the right players to improve the team.” Valencia himself says he is sad to be leaving a club ‘that I owe so much to.’

He took time out to speak to the Official Club Website prior to his departure. “I hope the fans at Wigan can understand that I am an ambitious guy and a chance like this might never come again for me,” he said this week.

“I am happy that the club has benefited from the move financially because I owe Wigan such a lot. I have had a great time here. It was Paul Jewell who first took a chance on me and gave me the opportunity to play in England. Chris Hutchings and Steve Bruce helped me to progress and it is a shame I won’t get the chance to work with Roberto because he is a great young manager and I’m sure his style of football would have suited me.

“I hope and pray that he will help Wigan progress because this is a great club that really gave me my chance. “And for the Wigan fans, I have to say a big thank you. They have supported me and sung my name and I will always have a place in my heart for the club. A big part of me is sad to be leaving but now I must look ahead to the next chapter in my career. But good luck to Wigan, they deserve it.”

Valencia joined the club from Villareal on loan in August 2006, making his debut against Newcastle United at St James Park in the first game of the 2006-07 season.

He has played 84 league games for the club in total, scoring seven times, and made a further five cup appearances.

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