With Cristiano Ronaldo Madrid bound, it seems Ferguson has found the perfect replacement to fill the boots of the winking Portuguese international. Instead of spending thousands to fly chief scouts around the world, living off expenses to find the next big thing, all that was required was a mere 17 mile journey to neighbouring side Wigan Athletic. Yesterday, it was announced that Antonio Valencia would be the first signing at Old Trafford since Ronaldo’s £80 million Madrid departure.
Valencia 23, will be yet another youthful singing in Ferguson’s young empire, that has been built over the past five years. Refusing to spend over the odds for ever ageing stars, Ferguson opts to sign players under the age of 25. Instead of trying to fit a players style into an already suited United team, the Scot prefers to mould the player into what he is looking for. With Alan Hansen’s famous outburst “You’ll never win anything with kids” in 1995, United have proved that they can be successful year after year with ‘kids’.
The singing comes as no surprise, but will Valencia be able to fill the vacant number seven shirt at Old Trafford? Despite United fans being left with a bitter taste in their mouths since Ronaldo’s Judas style departure to Spain, they cannot deny what he has done for the club in his five seasons in England. Valencia will not need any time to adapt to the English game, like many foreign players do including Ronaldo, and will not ruin any chances of playing for his country with poor performances - it is only Ecuador at the end of the day.
The number seven shirt has been worn by the likes of David Beckham, George Best and Eric Cantona in its time, but has Valencia got what it takes to be in the same league as these superstars?