Wigan chairman believes Roberto Martinez will stay

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan expects Roberto Martinez to make a decision on his future in the next 24 hours - and thinks the Spaniard will reject Aston Villa's overtures to remain as Latics boss for at least another season.

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan expects Roberto Martinez to make a decision on his future in the next 24 hours - and thinks the Spaniard will reject Aston Villa's overtures to remain as Latics boss for at least another season.



Whelan last night granted Villa permission to talk to Martinez about the possibility of taking the helm at the midlands club.



Martinez is thought to be Villa owner Randy Lerner's first choice for the position, which was vacated by Gerard Houllier last week, although Bolton's Owen Coyle has been linked with the role too.



Whelan has shown complete faith in Martinez since he appointed the former Wigan player as manager in 2009, standing by him despite the club's flirtation with relegation.



The Latics chairman says the 37-year-old is free to join Villa if he likes, but is confident of hanging on to his man and has offered the Spaniard a new and improved contract to encourage him to stay.



"I had a good meeting with Roberto yesterday and the decision whether he is going to stay or go is entirely in his hands," Whelan told BBC Radio 5 Live.



"I will support him whichever way he wants to go.



"I've offered him an extension to his contract and a better contract, because his current deal is down to a year.



"I have asked him to make a decision and tell me and the rest of the world, and I think he will be doing that in the next 24 hours.



"My gut feeling is he will stay at Wigan, but he will move in 12 or 18 months or two years, and he will go to one of the top European clubs."



Whelan signed Martinez as one of the 'three amigos' alongside compatriots Isidro Diaz and Jesus Seba to play for Wigan in 1995.



He spent six years with the Lancashire club before eventually trying his hand at management with Swansea and then becoming Latics boss two summers ago.



He led Wigan to 16th place in the Barclays Premier League in his first term in charge and finished in the same position last season, just three points outside the relegation zone after a nail-biting end to the campaign.



The attractive style of play he employs has won him plenty of admirers within the game and Whelan accepts Villa are a big enough club to turn a manager's head - although he feels Martinez will not be easily convinced to walk away from the DW Stadium.



"You have got to be realistic about it," Whelan said.



"If someone comes in - a big club like Villa - and says 'we are going to double your wages', a lot of people would jump and say 'I am going to do that'.



"Roberto is not that kind of man. He thinks long and hard. He is into football hugely and is enjoying what he is doing at Wigan.



"He has learned so much and taught me so much. Together, we are a great partnership."



Houllier left Villa eight days ago after nine months in charge.



The Frenchman led the club to ninth in the table but his tenure was interrupted by heart problems which hospitalised him in April. The former Liverpool boss missed the last month of Villa's campaign and Lerner decided he could no longer carry on as manager.



Despite his record of keeping Wigan in the top flight for two successive years, the Villa job will be a big step up for Martinez should he agree to take charge.



Star striker Darren Bent committed his future to the club last week, but England winger Ashley Young seems likely to leave for Manchester United.



Young's representatives are understood to be in talks with United over a potential move to Old Trafford as he seeks Champions League football.



The 25-year-old, who moved to Villa from Watford in 2007, is in the final year of his current contract.



Stewart Downing also appears to need convincing that his future lies with Villa after refusing to begin talks over a new deal.

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