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Martinez let free by Latics

WIGAN chairman Dave Whelan will not stand in the way of manager Roberto Martinez as he seeks to leave the club but has told potential suitors Everton it will cost them £2m in compensation.

The Spaniard is looking to bring an end to a four-year stay at the DW Stadium after telling Whelan, with whom he has a close relationship stemming back to when he signed as a player, he did not feel he could lead the FA Cup winners back to the Premier League after relegation.

By then Whelan had already given Everton permission to speak with Martinez but the Latics owner has no intention of making any deal easy for their former top-flight rivals.

"Everton rang me and I said they have permission to talk to him. I would never stop Roberto talking to football clubs," he said.

"He's on a three-year contract with 12 months outstanding so I would expect they have got to pay the £2million on that which is outstanding.

"We will let him go but if he moves, someone will have to buy him out of his final year.

"Everton are a nice club and have a great chairman in Bill (Kenwright) and he is an honest man.

"Roberto wants to move on and I have got to accept it.

"He does not feel he is up to the task of getting us back into the Premier League.

"Football is football and I understand where he is coming from.

"We are still friends, we will always be good friends and he will always be a friend of Wigan Athletic."

Whelan had hoped to hang on to Martinez after the pair met on Thursday and the Spaniard had made certain requests about improving the club's training ground and youth development.

That appeared to put the ball in the chairman's court but having had the weekend to think about things Martinez decided he could not continue.

But he will leave with no hard feelings on either side, especially after giving the club their moment of glory at Wembley by beating Manchester City in the FA Cup final earlier this month.

The task is now to find the right candidate to guide Wigan back to the Premier League, which many believe will be a difficult job in itself.

Whelan insists he does not have anyone in mind and encouraged interested parties to get in touch.

"I'm looking for applications for our (new) manager," he said.


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