Wigan open to Roberto Martinez cherry-picking best players to take to Everton

But the Toffees will have to pay full market value insists Dave Whelan

Roberto Martinez will be free to cherry-pick players from Wigan once his expected appointment at Everton is confirmed.

However, chairman Dave Whelan has warned the Toffees will have to pay the full market value for any Latics stars who want to follow their boss to Goodison Park.

Martinez is likely to be announced as successor to David Moyes in the next 48 hours, from which point he will start assessing what he needs heading into the new season.

The Spaniard has already been linked with potential moves for the likes of highly-rated midfielder James McCarthy and forwards Arouna Kone and Callum McManaman - a former Toffees trainee - from Wigan.

And while some chairmen - for example, Swansea's Hugh Jenkins last summer when he lost Brendan Rodgers to Liverpool - like to strike agreements stating their former managers cannot return to poach players during a certain period unless certain clauses are met, Whelan has made no such deal.

Whelan has a very close relationship with Martinez but insists he was not interested in negotiating any 'strings-attached' deal ahead of his switch to Everton.

"There is no agreement. It is unfair and I don't believe in anything like that," he told Press Association Sport.

"If Everton want to sign any of our players for the right amount of money we will consider it."

Whelan is believed to have negotiated compensation of about £1.5million for Martinez's services.

And while he would hope to be able to hang on to key players as the club seek to bounce back from their relegation to the npower Championship at the first opportunity he accepts the lure of the top flight is a strong one.

"We have to face every single thing that relegation presents us," he added.

"It is normally the case certain players want to play in the Premier League and I can't blame them for that.

"Players sign contracts but sometimes one or two want to leave and it is difficult to stop them.

"Players are players and I believe in freedom in football.

"But we have a lot of players who are loyal to Wigan Athletic so we will just wait and see."

Once a compensation package had been agreed yesterday Whelan was certain Martinez would complete his move quickly with discussions over his terms and backroom staff to take place with Everton chairman Bill Kenwright.

However, the Merseyside club are taking a cautious line, having conducted a thorough and patient approach to replacing Moyes as soon as it was announced the Scot was to become Manchester United manager.

Martinez is certainly their first choice having topped a shortlist of three, believed to have also included Porto's Vitor Pereira and former Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick, Kenwright considered over the weekend.

But in an attempt to mitigate Whelan's public pronouncements on the identity of their next manager the Everton issued a statement last night which said: "In response to regrettable and somewhat premature reports earlier this evening, Everton Football Club are continuing discussions with regards to the vacant managerial position.

"Whilst positive moves are being made, the club will officially announce details as and only when they are agreed and completed."

PA

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