A move to Everton could propel Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez to the top, claims Latics’ chairman Dave Whelan after a compensation package was agreed by the clubs.
Martinez announced last month he would be leaving the Latics after four years, and is rumoured to be favourite to fill David Moyes’ shoes after his move to Manchester United.
No official details have been confirmed by either club but Whelan told BBC Sport the path is clear for Martinez to discuss personal terms after a compensation fee was settled.
He said: “His [Martinez’s] meeting with Everton last week had gone very well, he was probably in the last two or three on the list.
“The chairman then rang me and we discussed the compensation deal, which was agreed this evening [Monday] at six o’clock.
“He [Martinez] can now talk to Everton, so he is free to do a deal if he wants.
“After leaving Wigan, I think Everton is the next stop of Roberto before he goes to the very, very top.
“Everton is run very similarly to Wigan, it’s a family-run club, a friendly club with a great bunch of supporters. They’re a bigger club than Wigan and it’s a super club.
“I had a meeting with Roberto tonight, we are still very good friends and will be friends for the rest of our lives.”
Spaniard Martinez, 39, first joined Wigan as a player in 1995 and spent seven years at the club before moving to Motherwell.
He began his managerial career at Swansea in 2007, winning the Football League One in 2008, before returning to Wigan in 2009.
Last season brought disappointment for the Latics as they suffered relegation into the Championship for the first time in eight years after finishing 18th in the Premier League.
But they also made history by beating Manchester City in the FA Cup final to clinch the trophy for the first time in their history, earning a place in next season’s Europa League.
A statement on Everton’s club website said: “In response to regrettable and somewhat premature reports, 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.”
Whelan added that he will now start interviewing for Martinez’s replacement and revealed a string of top managers are interested in the position.
He said: “I have not been able to interview any of the 30 people that have applied.
“I did not want to jeopardise negotiations about compensation and it would not have been fair to offer anyone the job when I was not in the clear.
“There is no need for me to chase anyone. There are half a dozen top lads among those that have applied.”
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