Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Thursday May 21 2009
Wigan Athletic could be without Antonio Valencia for the last game of the season against Portsmouth on Sunday due to the Ecuador international suffering from a hamstring injury that has plagued him for most of the season.
If Valencia does miss out then Latics fans will not have the chance to say their goodbyes to one of the most gifted players ever to wear the clubs colours, the young midfield player is set to leave in a few weeks for a mega transfer deal to one of the worlds top clubs.
It has been confirmed that the Latics have received a £21 million bid from Real Madrid and with Bayern Munich and Manchester United also interested it could be decision time for Valencia as to where he wants to play his Champions League football next season.
Latics boss Steve Bruce says about Valencia: 'He's had this hamstring problem on-and-off since Christmas.
'It's inevitable that the lad will be leaving in the summer as there are clubs queuing up, jostling for position.
'I won't lie to fans about that. Of course I would love to keep him, but it's going to be impossible for that to happen.
'I'm not sure how far things have gone yet, but there have been phone calls, and people asking to be kept informed.
'I leave that side of things to the powers-that-be, but to be fair to Brenda Spencer and John Benson, they always respect my decision on things like this.
'Where Antonio will end up, I really couldn't say.
'Would he be tempted by Spain? I don't know.
'Bayern Munich are also a huge club in Germany.'
'I have only worked with the kid for 18 months but he has got a special talent. He's a very good player.
'And he can only get better. I think he's got all the traits of a modern top footballer - he's powerful, has plenty of pace and puts a shift in.
'He's a tough lad and has age on his side. He doesn't turn 24 until the summer.
'It will be a shame to lose him. Before January we had what I think was the best team Wigan had ever had.
'Unfortunately we've had to rip it apart very quickly.'
It`s that time of year again when here at Vital Wigan when we ask you to vote for your Latics player of the season to see who`ll win the Latics Speyk Alf Craig Trophy
Last seasons award went to Mario Melchiot and season 2006/07 Emile Heskey.
To vote just click here then enter the player of your choice and your name or username, also place Player of the Season 2008/09 in the email subject
The closing date is Thursday 21st May 5pm BST
You can listen to the Latics Speyk podcasts now by clicking on the player here:
Date:Thursday May 21 2009
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