Antonio Valencia looks set to follow Steve Bruce out of Wigan in a move which could have significant repercussions for the JJB Stadium outfit – and the Ecuadorian winger's reported suitors.
Manchester United and Real Madrid are understood to have lodged bids in excess of £16million as both clubs look to beef up their attacking options ahead of a summer of transition.
A close-season switch to Old Trafford, however, would fuel more speculation about the future of Cristiano Ronaldo. Valencia could operate on the right, allowing Ferguson to play world player of the year Ronaldo as his principal striker, as seen in the Champions League last season.
Alternatively, his arrival could also give weight to the theory that Ferguson has grown tired of speculation about his star forward and is finally prepared to let him leave for pastures new.
Nani has continued to frustrate match-going United supporters and it would appear Ferguson's patience has finally snapped.
Newly-elected president Florentino Perez has vowed to return Real to the summit of domestic and continental football and, although a confirmed admirer of Ronaldo, is also in the running for Valencia.
The 23-year-old nearly moved to the Bernabeu in the winter transfer window but the Latics managed to keep hold of their most saleable asset.
Now, with Bruce confirmed as the new manager of Sunderland, the goalposts have changed and Dave Whelan may decide now is the time to secure a maximum profit.