Some reports this morning have suggested that Bayern Munich have joined United and Real Madrid as a possibility for Antonio Valencia. With United’s bid going in a week ago, the Wigan chairman, Dave Whelan has confirmed that talks will take place within the next week or so, although cannot reveal the identity of the third club.

“All season Real have followed him big style, Manchester United followed him big style and there is another club who have just come in from Europe, who we were unaware of,” said Whelan. “I swore I wouldn’t reveal the identity of the other team because they are frightened of Real or United finding out.”

With nothing but the odd quotes here and there, rumours in the rags, as well as an active imagination, it’s not too hard to imagine that Bayern Munich are the third club interested. They imagine they could lose out on Franck Ribery, regardless of all their fighting talk about not selling him, so are looking for a replacement. They don’t want United and Real Madrid to know they’re in the market for Valencia as that would give the game away that they are prepared to sell Ribery.

First, Ferguson needs to get on to the phone with his ol pal Dave, tell him to tell Real Madrid to do one. Then we need to get on the phone to Bayern Munich and tell them we’ll back off Valencia if they sell us Ribery. Yeh? Or does it not work like that? Hmm.

God, it’s going to be a long summer.