Wigan ready to welcome Martinez

Member of 'Three Amigos' on verge of quitting Swansea to succeed Steve Bruce
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The Independent Online

Dave Whelan, the Wigan Athletic chairman, is confident a deal to bring Roberto Martinez in as manager will be concluded this morning. The Premier League club were given permission to speak to the former Latics midfielder yesterday after agreeing a compensation package with Swansea City.

Martinez was hugely popular in his six years as a player with Wigan from 1995 to 2001, when he was one of the "Three Amigos" along with Isidro Diaz and Jesus Seba. His stock as a manager has soared in the past year after guiding Swansea to the League One title and then within two places of the Championship play-offs.

Wigan have moved quickly to secure his services after losing Steve Bruce to Sunderland earlier this week. "I am delighted and I know the whole of Wigan will be excited we are getting one of the 'Three Amigos' back," Whelan said yesterday. "Roberto played good football and I've followed his career go on and on. His players play football from back to front, I like what I see and I am really excited Roberto is coming back to Wigan.

"Compensation was something we had to agree, that is only fair and right. We did that with Birmingham [for Bruce] and we have now agreed with the chairman of Swansea. Hopefully, things will be sorted out and contracts signed by tomorrow morning."

The Swansea chairman, Huw Jenkins, was reluctant to release Martinez and recently rebuffed interest from Celtic. Whelan, having seen Sunderland move for Bruce, admits he can sympathise with the Welsh club. He added: "Football is a cruel game. Sometimes you don't want to lose a manager, I didn't want to lose Steve Bruce. I understand exactly where he is coming from, but it is football and things move on."

Reports have suggested the compensation figure agreed is close to £2m. Whelan said: "It was around that figure. We're both happy anyway – I'll say that."

Swansea are now resigned to losing the highly rated Martinez, who succeeded Kenny Jackett two years ago. A statement read: "Swansea City can confirm that they have reluctantly given Wigan Athletic permission to speak to Roberto Martinez about the vacant manager's position at the JJB Stadium." Once the appointment is confirmed, Martinez will be given funding to strengthen the Latics squad. Whelan said: "We are not the biggest club, we have a budget. We will talk and we have the money we require to replace players."

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