Football

Valencia resists Real advances

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Wigan boss Steve Bruce has revealed midfield star Antonio Valencia has rejected the chance to join Real Madrid.

Bruce, whose team earned a goalless Barclays Premier League draw at high-flying Aston Villa, has already lost the services of Emile Heskey and Wilson Palacios in the January transfer window - and feared Valencia could also be heading for the exit door at the JJB Stadium. But the Ecuadorian has pledged to remain with the Latics until at least the summer.

"Valencia has turned down an offer from Real Madrid. It only happened last night - and it is great news for us," said Bruce, who is also looking to complete the signing of Newcastle defender Charles N'Zogbia during the next 24 hours. "He is prepared to stay with us until the end of the season at least - which is fantastic."

He added: "We have lost Emile and Wilson, and the last thing you want to do is rebuild a team in January. Keeping hold of Antonio was paramount.

"As regards N'Zogbia, we have agreed a fee with Newcastle; we spoke to him last night - and he was at the game today.

"There is still a bit to do to get over the line, and we will see what develops."

Bruce saluted his side's heroic defending, in the face of a second-half onslaught from Martin O'Neill's side.

But the former Birmingham boss also admitted Wigan rode their luck, with Villa hitting the woodwork on several occasions.

"I can't remember being under the cosh like that and getting away with it before. You need to have a bit of luck when it is like that - and you need your defenders to be brave," Bruce added. "But we were terrific in sticking at it. We were out on our feet at the end after the game with Liverpool on Wednesday.

"We did ride our luck. But we had people who were brave and prepared to put their body on the line - and in the first half, we had the best two chances."

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Topics:
Football
Emile Heskey
Premier League
Steve Bruce
Wigan Athletic
Aston Villa
Charles N'Zogbia
Birmingham
Antonio Valencia
Wilson Palacios
Liverpool

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