Roberto Martinez took a step closer to the vacant Liverpool manager's job after meeting with the club's owners in Miami yesterday, according to Dave Whelan. However, the Wigan chairman also cast doubt on Martinez's willingness to work under a technical director at Anfield.
The Spaniard is currently on a family holiday in the Caribbean but took a short flight to Miami where he was expected to meet Fenway Sports Group's top executives. Martinez's current employer, Whelan, revealed details of the trip after speaking to his manager earlier. "I got a phone call this morning and Roberto was on his way to America, he's flying down to Miami and is meeting Liverpool now," he said. "I didn't ask him what he has decided to do but I told him I wanted it sorted out sooner rather than later."
Whelan added: "He has to listen to what they are offering. He is just doing what I gave him permission to do. This visit to America is a brief intrusion into his holiday but it is something he has to do."
Martinez has emerged as a front-runner after the former Porto and Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas fell out of the reckoning this week. FSG have spent the last week since sacking manager Kenny Dalglish scouring the globe for a replacement ahead of the new season.
Although their widespread trawl has attracted some criticism after a couple of rejections, it is at the heart of the strategy they have chosen to implement as part of a re-organisation of the structure at Anfield, which will see the appointment of a technical director above the new manager.
That approach has been criticised by Whelan, who added: "My understanding is that Liverpool are seeking a final shortlist of six managers whom the owners would like to interview.
"I am amazed they think they can do that, it sounds very much an American way of dealing with these issues in sport, but I would wonder how those six managers might feel."
The Wigan chairman also thinks Martinez will not tolerate being part of a management structure. "A little bit will have to do with the attitude of the owners because I really don't think they fully understand the game of football in England," he said. "Roberto likes total control, from the youngsters at 16 to the first team. If he doesn't get that I don't think he will take the job."